Jessie Frank’s flight from New York to Atlanta shouldn’t have taken too long. But a series of delays, cancellations, being re-routed and facing mechanical problems make it a whole day affair for the mother trying to get from New York to Atlanta. Although the day was filled with frustration, it ended with a surprising twist.
In an open letter on Facebook, Frank described it as “one of my more harrowing flying days.” She was trying to get home in time to pick up her daughter with diabetes from camp, which, although she didn’t tell anybody about it at the time, is a special moment for her.
“It was important for me to get home – not important enough to tell anyone – but Friday I was to pick up my Type 1 Diabetic 12 year old from her diabetes summer camp. I’m sure she would have been fine if someone else had shown up in my place, but it’s a special moment for me,” Frank wrote. “Camp Kudzu gives my daughter 5 days a year when she feels ‘normal.’ Pick-up day gives me a glimpse into that special world where she’s just like everyone else, and she’s a little bit of a different person for the rest of the day. By the next day, it’s back to the harsh realities of managing a difficult, deadly, incurable disease that kills 1 in 20 before the age of 18. Most people just don’t understand how different it is from regular diabetes.”
Just as Frank was about to give up hope, she squeaked onto one of the last flights out of Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where she had been diverted to earlier, but only because someone gave up their seat for her.
“I was 8th on the standby list, showing 0 seats left. I was about to give up, but the counter agent stopped me from leaving. He called 7 names… and then, finally, I was the last to be called. As we rushed down the jetway, the flight attendant at the plane shook her head – not a good sign – but then paused, talked to someone, and waved us down anyway,” Frank wrote.
When Frank boarded someone who looked familiar but was not in any official uniform, helped her put up her suitcase. But it wasn’t until the plane was about to touch down in its final destination that Frank was able to place the face to a name.
“As the plane descended into Atlanta, the flight attendant announced that there was a special guest on board. He was riding in a jump seat, because he had given up his place to allow one more person on that flight. That special guest was you: Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta,” she continued.
In her letter to Anderson, Frank seems amazed that the CEO of the airline “did all that for me, just an average, middle-aged, woman with, as far as anyone at Delta knew, no special reason to get home.” Frank also gives kudos to the assistance and friendliness of Delta’s staff during the stressful day.
“Thank you, Richard Anderson. As a result of your leadership and the actions of yourself and your employees, I had my special day with my special child. You and your employees gave us both one more day of happiness, and for that, we are both very grateful. I have always been a loyal Delta customer, but Thursday solidified that loyalty for life! To all Delta employees who helped me on Thursday: thank you again,” Frank ended.
Frank posted the letter last Monday of the trip she had the Thursday prior. Since being posted on Facebook, it has been shared more than 1,700 times.
Frank told CNN she felt it was an important story to share.
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