Take one look at the gif above and tell me that seeing a turtle scuttling around wouldn’t improve the experience of being cattle-herded through one of the circles of hell that is a U.S. airport. The answer should be clear to you (it is, “Yes, that would improve my travel experience greatly”), but just in case you’re on the fence, let me help: The turtle’s name is Xena.

Look at this picture and tell me that you’ve had in your lifetime a vacation that is more notable than this one single still image. If I saw this happening in person, it would not just make my trip or my month or my year, it would make my life.

Gaze into the sleepy eyes of this lizard and tell me that you’d have any issue riding alongside him anywhere. He’s a lizard! He’s not going to bother you at all! Leave him alone, he’s working. His name is Chief.

All of these joy-giving images were used in vain to show how big of a problem “emotional support” animals on planes can be in a recent NBC Chicago news story. Anchor Scott Gordon reported that, “It sounds crazy and it is, but these days don’t be surprised if you find a parrot in the seat next to you.” I would be surprised, and I would be delighted, as someone who loves surprises. I would, frankly, much rather talk to a parrot on an airplane than one of my fellow humans. I bet that would be the most interesting airplane conversation I’ve ever had, in fact.

“Some flight attendants say it is a growing threat to your safety,” claimed another anchor in the story’s intro, but never explained precisely is how. I’m not scared of lap animals! If I have to start worrying about getting punched by a kangaroo on a nonstop to L.A., that’s such an absurd scenario that I’m more than happy to add it to my list of fears while flying. I’m tickled at the mere thought, and frankly it would be an honor just to be considered as a target of one of those majestic creatures.

Laura Glading, president of the American Airlines flight attendants union, claims that the animals “are allowed to wander freely,” which seems extremely hard to believe. I have been yelled at so many times after we’ve reached cruising altitude but before the seatbelt light has gone off and, “I’m sorry but I’m literally going to piss myself if I don’t go now,” is not a sufficient answer to many flight attendants. The only beings allowed to wander freely on planes are flight attendants. Maybe Glading feels threatened.

NBC Chicago even got a blind guy named Greg Pullman, who actually relies on an animal as opposed to a person who lies about needing “support” from his “animal,” to weigh in on this matter and this is what he said: “A lot of people go online and they just purchase and...purchase these documents that aren’t real and it needs to stop.” That’s not supporting evidence, it’s just the story’s thesis as repeated by a blind guy!

The point of the NBC Chicago broadcast is to illustrate how easy it is to register your pet as a support animal. “All you need is a letter from a doctor,” reports Gordon, who says there’s a “cottage industry” online of doctors willing to write such letters. Seems shady, sure, but I still haven’t a clue as to what the fuck is wrong with bringing a kangaroo on a plane.

The full story is below.

[There was a video here]

[h/t Josh Barro]