Having an infant with you while traveling can definitely give you many unknown difficult circumstances. Just like this dad who thought that he’s all “go” to board the plane with his newborn but things happen. Unfortunately, he and his newborn baby were stopped at the Frontier Airlines gate at the Phoenix airport; this newborn baby girl Ru-Andria isn’t allowed to go onboard with him.
Rubin, a father from Cleveland, Ohio immediately packed his bags to bring his baby home. He first saw his baby at Banner University Medical Center and met NICU volunteer Joy Ringhofer, who was 78 at that time. But, for some precautionary measures, she needed to be transferred to the NICU after birth for several days. The kind volunteer knew Rubin was a good father and surprisingly gave him her phone number and offered to give them a ride to the airport on the day of their flight. But there, he received te**ib!e news!
Unfortunately, they can’t fly without proof of Ru-Andria’s age- “Frontier Airlines’ policy states that for an infant to be able to fly, it must be at least seven days old first.” But, age was not the problem, getting proper documentation would take time. Rubin was caught in a bad situation, he even thought of sleeping at the airport together with his baby while waiting for the availability of Ru-Andria’s birth certificate.
“I was out of money and the hospital told me that I wouldn’t be able to get a birth certificate for seven days. I was worried that if security saw me sleeping at the airport with a newborn, they’d take her away from me and charge me with neglect. I was stuck.” He also reached out to his wife but there was no way!
“When he called me from the airport and told me that they weren’t going to let him fly until he could get a birth certificate in four days, I felt panicked … I didn’t want him to sleep at the airport. I was s**r!d because it looked like we were out of options.” There’s the only person left whom he thought could help him was none other than the kind volunteer, Joy, and told her the story.
“I told him, ‘I’m going to take you home with me,’ so wait right there. There are a lot of dangers out there, but there’s a lot of good, too. I’d enjoyed talking to Rubin at the hospital and helping him with the baby. He was polite and kind and I could tell that he had a good heart.”
Rubin’s eyes filled with tears and couldn’t just believe Joy’s genuine kindness- “I’m bl**k and she is white. I’m a stranger who grew up in the projects in the Bronx and she’s a great-grandmother who recently lost her husband. She knew very little about me, and yet, she took me in. Color wasn’t an issue to her. She showed me that in this crazy world, there is still compassion.”
Rubin shared the good news with his wife & both were thankful to find someone willing to go the extra mile in helping a stranger. “Miss Joy was like an angel and she’d really bonded with Ru-Andria. Whenever my daughter heard her voice, her face would light up. As soon as she took us in, I knew we’d be friends for life.”
For four days, they spent time together taking care of baby Ru-Andria and tirelessly talked about each other’s stories. They didn’t treat each other like strangers but families. “I could see the pain in her face from losing her husband, so at the cemetery, as we sat there with the baby, I said, ‘Hey, Charles, look — it’s your new granddaughter.’ We had some touching and wonderful moments. I lost my mom to ca*c!r in 2007, so Joy really became like a mother or grandmother figure to me.”
Finally, the birth certificate was ready, Rubin and Ru-Andria can finally reunite with their family in Ohio, he’d miss Joy. it’s time to say “goodbye.” But in last they said “We just knew that we’d always be in touch from that day forward. We started out as strangers, and ended up as good friends. Rubin is very grateful to me, but I’m also very grateful to have had the opportunity.”