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Let’s hope Hays taught authorities a lesson

Authorities this week finally dropped their misguided case against Nadine Hays, the woman who was effectively treated like a thug last year for insisting on carrying applesauce and other snacks aboard a flight at Bob Hope Airport for her 93-year-old mother.

But after a yearlong debacle — which may carry on for months more as she seeks civil compensation for the ordeal — there were at least some lessons to be had for officials and future passengers. For plane passengers: Don’t think even hiding behind your 93-year-old grandmother will fly with security agents. And for authorities: Save yourself, and the taxpayers, some trouble by perhaps using greater discretion when deciding to press ahead with charges.

If it wasn’t clear to airline passengers before this case, it should be by now. It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to bringing any form of liquid aboard a jetliner. As innocuous as things like toothpaste, applesauce or soymilk might sound, Nadine Hays showed us otherwise.

May Hays also serve as a reference for authorities in the future. When it comes to deciding which charges to press against whom, the “applesauce lady” probably isn’t something you want on your resume, and, as this case has turned out, it will likely be held up as a waste of public resources.