A passenger was scheduled to fly out of New Hampshire’s Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) late in the afternoon. Well, that was the original plan.
The flight was switched from a 7:30 p.m. to a 2:45 p.m. departure, but when finding out about the change, the passenger, whose father was laid to rest the day before, was three hours away.
MHT Transportation Security Manager Bruce Starkey came to the rescue.
Starkey worked with the airline to try to rebook the passenger’s flight, but by the time the passenger arrived at MHT, no flights were available the rest of the day. The options were to wait until the next morning or find a way to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to catch a flight there.
“I was a little upset with the whole situation, but I kept a positive attitude and spirit,” said the passenger in a letter to TSA. “I opted to find a way to Boston.”
Starkey then looked at the bus schedule but decided to go well beyond the call of duty. He called his girlfriend and convinced her to pick up the passenger at MHT and drive the person to a bus station, where the passenger was able to catch a ride to BOS.
“[Starkey] gifted me the best thing I have ever received from a stranger,” the passenger said. “Going above and beyond by anyone is rare these days, let alone from a TSA agent who usually gets an unfair bad rap from irritated travelers.”
When the passenger offered Starkey’s girlfriend gas money for the trip, she refused and asked the passenger to “pay it forward” in the future. “The notion blindsided me,” the passenger said. “Ironically, about a month earlier, I spontaneously chose to pay for the stranger behind me at a Burger King drive-thru. Irony at its finest, because here I was in need of help, and two fantastic people stepped up and went out of their way for me.”
“What Mr. Starkey and [his girlfriend] did was beyond anything I could ever dream of or ask from strangers,” noted the passenger. “Mr. Starkey is the example all [Officers] should emulate and strive to be like. Both of these great Americans continue to set the bar for how we should treat one another in society. God bless them!”