Man Gets Stopped, Checked by TSA for Carrying Bag Full of SPAM: 'I'm So Embarrassed' (Exclusive)

Joel Libed went viral after airport security pulled him aside over his carry-on packed with cans of SPAM

<p>joellibedny/TikTok</p> Joel Libed


Joel Libed's airport SPAM

A Massachusetts man is going viral after TSA pulled him aside to check his bag at the airport, only to find it stuffed with several different varieties of SPAM.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, singer Joel Libed says he was traveling as part of the professional Irish dancing show, A Taste of Ireland, when the group made its first stop in Austin, Minnesota: home to the SPAM museum.

"When we got to Austin, I told everyone I wanted to visit the museum," Libed, 33, says. "Unfortunately, we only had about 20 minutes to visit but the workers there were so kind and welcoming."

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Having grown up in Hawaii — where it's an essential part of the local cuisine — Libed says SPAM has long been one of his favorite foods.

"Being from Hawaii, SPAM is a huge cultural root in our society and it’s a trendy dish," he notes.

But with only 20 minutes to visit the museum, Libed says he wasn't able to quite get his fill of the famous processed meat product with a cult-like following.

Still, when he got ready for the show later that night, fate intervened.

"One of the ladies who is doing our costumes for the show worked at the museum. I told her that I’m from Hawaii and I grew up on SPAM and I love it so much," Libed says.

He continues: "She left the theater, and came back with an entire case of SPAM for me! I was so thrilled! So I ended up lugging around that case of SPAM for the rest of my tour."

Weeks later, when the tour wrapped up, Libed headed back home to Massachusetts.

"My luggage was overweight," he says, "So I took all the SPAM in my carry-on."

<p>joellibedny/TikTok</p> Joel Libed's carry-on being inspected


Joel Libed's carry-on being inspected

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Libed says that, prior to getting to the airport, he didn't give the SPAM much thought, noting, "It's just sealed food."

Still, the TSA agents at security had other ideas.

In a video posted to TikTok, Libed can be seen going through airport security as agents pull him aside, open his carry-on tote bag, and pull out more than half-a-dozen cans of SPAM, one by one.

"So it's all — it's a case of SPAM that I'm taking," Libed can be heard telling a TSA agent, laughing as the agent opens the bag. "I'm so embarrassed."

Speaking to PEOPLE, he says he didn't just have the original flavor, but a number of other varieties: "My favorite is a hot and spicy, But I also got turkey, maple, jalapeño, tocino (Filipino sausage), teriyaki and a few others."

Since the video has gone viral, garnering more than 4 million views, and 400,000 likes, friends, family and other SPAM super-fans have taken notice.

"When I’m not performing, I’m a server at Welly's Restaurant in Hudson, Massachusetts. My regulars and co-workers have loved every minute of my SPAM viral moment," Libed jokes, adding that many TikTok users have reached out to him to say they "didn’t know there were so many flavors."

<p>joellibedny/TikTok</p> A SPAM display at an airport


A SPAM display at an airport

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Libed did, ultimately, make it out of the airport security line without incident (albeit with some strange looks from staffers and fellow travelers, and with the requirement that TSA conduct a quick test on the cans). And since he posted his video, he's been rewarded with even more SPAM.

"SPAM reached out and loved the video and are sending me more to try," he says. "It’s been a fun ride and I’m loving the support."

Libed continues: "I’m so happy this video brought so much laughter and brought the SPAM community together."

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Read the original article on People.