An Ohio man was left in the lurch — and without funds to make other travel arrangements — when Frontier Airlines barred him from flying with his newborn daughter because she had not yet turned a week old. Then a Good Samaritan stepped in.
As AZFamily.com reports, new dad Rubin Swift claims he made arrangements with the airline to return home to Ohio with his 4-day-old baby, Ru-Andria. Swift had flown to Phoenix to pick up the newborn after being awarded custody.
According to Swift, he took the necessary precautions, keeping his daughter’s birth certificate and a note from her Phoenix hospital clearing her to fly. But when they reached the gate, agents informed him that the baby was too young to travel, as infants must be at least seven days old. They were also unable to offer the cash-strapped dad an immediate refund so he could book a hotel or rental car.
“I asked for my money,” Swift told reporters. “They said it would take seven days to get your money back.”
The stranded family was left with just one option: calling for help. Swift recalled a kind volunteer who had helped care for Ru-Andria during her stay in a NICU unit in Phoenix.
He called the woman, Joy Ringhofer, and was bowled over by her suggestion to take him and his daughter in until a new flight could be booked.
“I didn’t expect her to say, ‘I’m coming to get you and take you home,'” he said. “So, I’m thinking, She is going to drive me back to Cleveland … but she actually brought me to her house … feeding me and making sure my baby is all right.
“We’re two different colors and she opened up her door and it never was an issue,” Swift added about Ringhofer, whom he now refers to as his daughter’s grandma. “My color was never an issue. She loves my baby. She held her. My baby was with her all night. Who does that?”
“I had such a strong feeling that I needed to do this for him,” Ringhofer said. “I know he was a kind and safe man to have in my home and he has been a perfect gentleman.”
After enjoying Ringhofer’s hospitality, father and daughter were eventually able to fly back to Ohio on March 20, Frontier confirmed.
“To comply with Frontier policy regarding the age of traveling infants these passengers were rebooked on a Frontier flight department on March 20,” the airline said in a statement to AZFamily.com. “We also waived any change fees associated with this change so the passenger can travel in accordance with our policy.”
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