I’m sure that we all have our fair share of airport disaster stories. Perhaps your flight got cancelled, or maybe you had to throw out half your souvenirs because your luggage was over the weight limit. One passenger was in for the fright of her life when her luggage failed to arrive with her.
Stacy Hurt, 46, had flown into Pennsylvania from Nashville in order to make it to an important chemotherapy appointment the next morning. Sarah Rowan, a 27-year-old Southwest Airlines customer service agent, received a concerned call regarding the luggage. Hurt was rightfully concerned when her package didn’t come in since it contained important items for her appointment. According to Rowan, the bags had been loaded on another flight that had been rerouted and cancelled. Most likely, Hurt wouldn’t receive her luggage until later that night or sometime the next day.
“I panicked,” Hurt told PEOPLE. “I thought of all the things I had in that suitcase that I needed for chemotherapy the very next day. My world was rocked.”
She had been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer about three years ago on her 44th birthday. According to Hurt, her luggage contained medication that soothed the side effects of her chemotherapy, such as anxiety and reflux. It also contained some sentimental items, such as a rosary and a lucky t-shirt she often wore to keep calm during her appointment.
“At that point, I started to cry and get very emotional,” said Hurt. “You can’t control cancer, so you control the things you carry with you for good luck and make you feel safe.”
As Rowan listened to Hurt on the phone, she was quickly reminded of her father, Frank Rowan, who died six years ago from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia. He fought long and hard for two decades.
“He was the strongest man I’ve ever known,” Rowan said. “A lot of what I see in Stacy is what I saw in my dad. I felt a very strong connection with her from the start.”
Rowan later found out that Hurt’s luggage came in on the last night of the night. Unfortunately, it missed the last courier, so it was unlikely that Hurt would receive it in time for her appointment. Rowan could have ended it there. After all, she was only a customer service agent rather than a courier. Instead, she looked up Hurt’s address and drove from the airport to Hurt’s home in Bridgeville. Rowan arrived at 3:30am and wrote her a quick message before leaving the luggage on her porch.
“I just wanted to give her a final message to let her know that I’m thinking of her,” Rowan explained. “That entire night, I was thinking of her, and I wanted her to know that we were behind her.”
Hurt eventually found her bags in the morning and assumed that airline couriers had delivered overnight. Upon opening it, she found Rowans hastily written note.
Hurt could hardly suppress her tears at Rowan’s act of kindness. She later shared a photo of the note on Facebook after contacting Southwest Airlines to tell them about Rowan’s “exceptional customer service.” The two contacted each other online and eventually met in person for the first time on August 9. Since then it looks like the two became quick friends. Hurt made an effort to share Rowan’s act of kindness to the world.
“I had to tell the story because it’s a miracle that I’m alive, and the fact that such an extraordinary act of kindness happened to me, I had to share it, we need to hear about the good in this world,” Hurt explained. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m still here.”
Pass the tissues. I’m going to need them.