Spam-a-lot: Man goes viral after TSA finds bag of lunch meat at airport checkpoint


Talk about canned heat at the airport.

A Massachusetts man has gone viral on social media after Transportation Security Administration officials pulled him aside at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and found his carry-on bag filled with cans of Spam, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. Lots of cans.

Joel Kaimakani Libed, 33, of Worcester, recently visited the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, and bought cans of the venerable lunch meat to bring home. But his heavy bag filled with cans caught the attention of TSA agents.

@joellibedny Sorry not sorry i love @SPAM®️Brand @Hormel Foods @SPAM®️ Museum #spam #tsa #fyp ♬ Funny Song - Funny Song Studio & Sounds Reel

“So it’s all -- it’s a case of Spam,” Libed can be heard telling a TSA agent in a video that was posted on TikTok. “I’m so embarrassed.”

Libed, who grew up in Hawaii where Spam was an essential part of his diet and was a “trendy dish,” was thrilled to be performing with his Irish dance group in the city where the Spam Museum was located.

“When we got to Austin, I told everyone I wanted to visit the museum,” Libed told People.

Libed was traveling as part of the professional Irish dancing show, “A Taste of Ireland,” and the Spam Museum was across the street from the theater where they were performing, the Telegram & Gazette reported.

“We only had about 30 minutes as it was our lunch break, so here we are, me and 20 Irish step dancers at this museum,” Libed told the newspaper. “I bought a T-shirt, a mug and a magnet and headed back to the theater.”

Libed said he saw one of the theater’s crew members wearing a Spam sweatshirt, so naturally, he struck up a conversation with her.

“She left at one point and then came back with a variety case of Spam and said, ‘You need this,’” Libed told the Telegraph & Gazette. “So of course I was so excited to receive the gift and try some of the flavors.”

Several weeks later, Libed and his dance troupe went to the airport in Minnesota to fly back to Massachusetts, according to the newspaper.

He realized after weighing his suitcase that he could not get another 15 pounds of Spam into his checked luggage, the Telegraph & Gazette reported.

“So I added it to my carry-on and didn’t give it much thought,” Libed told the newspaper. “My shoes come out, then my backpack, then the TSA agent lifts my Spam bag and says, ‘Who does this belong to?’ I was so nervous I’d done something wrong, so I walked over and thought, ‘OK, maybe if I just explain.”

He filmed the encounter and posted it on TikTok, where it has received more than 5 million views.

“It was ridiculous, my entire cast is standing there laughing at me, and people are walking past looking at the Spam and going ‘what the ...’” Libed told the Telegraph & Gazette.

When he is not dancing -- or eating Spam -- Libed is a server at Welly’s Restaurant in Hudson, Massachusetts, People reported. He has worked as a server for four years, and last summer the restaurant offered a seasonal dish, “Joel’s Aloha Burger,” the Telegraph & Gazette reported. The restaurant is planning to add slices of Spam to the burger, according to the newspaper.

Since Libed posted his video, Spam has contacted one of its biggest fans.

“Spam reached out and loved the video and are sending me more to try,” Libed told People. “It’s been a fun ride and I’m loving the support.

“I’m so happy this video brought so much laughter and brought the Spam community together.”

“It is safe to say Joel is officially part of the ‘Spam Fam,’” Jennesa Kinscher, Spam’s brand manager, said in a statement to the Telegram & Gazette. “We love our super fans, like Joel.”

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