It was a Saturday night and all TSA employees had clocked out at James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY). TSA officers were casually filing out of the breakroom and heading home, but little did Supervisory Officer Tina Schaefer and Officers Betty Kinsler, Bev Bates and Travis Lightcap know their work wasn’t quite done.
As the group chatted and walked by the checkpoint toward the exit lane, they noticed a woman holding a sparsely dressed, sleeping child. The woman was clearly distressed and seemed confused.
“It was clear the mother and child were in distress,” said Bates. “She said the baby had an accident on the plane; that’s why he only had a diaper and pants on. She told us she had nothing, because all her luggage had gone on to Cincinnati (CVG).”
The woman missed her flight, was rerouted to Dayton, and her bags were checked through to CVG without her. She didn’t have a change of clothes for her son.
Sizing up the situation, Schaefer took off her flannel shirt and gave it to the woman to cover the child.
“We saw someone who needed help, so we helped them,” commented Kinsler. “It was cold out, and the baby didn’t have clothes on, so we gave her something to wrap him up in.”
In the meantime, Bates went back to the break room and bought some drinks and snacks for the woman and child. As the woman walked away to sit down, tears ran down her face. Wiping the tears away, she sobbed, “Thank you so much; I can’t believe how very kind you are to us.”
The officers escorted her to the baggage office area to try to locate an airline employee to help her with the baggage issue. Once they found someone to help her, she again thanked everyone.
As though it was all in a day’s work, the officers resumed their walk to their cars and eventually home.
“Never have I felt prouder of the people I work with at DAY than I did that night, watching them help a stranger,” Lightcap said.
The officers made sure the passenger was able to contact someone to drive to DAY and pick up her and her child.
“We have a great group of officers here at DAY,” said DAY TSA Manager Austin Allen. “This is one of many instances where our officers have gone the extra mile to help others.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dayton Joint Awards Committee recognized the four TSA officers for their actions.
By Wayne Carey, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs