New Orleans TSA officer helps stranded airman

Friday, April 23, 2021
Award photo

“He seemed like a nice guy. When I found out he was in the military and stranded, it just felt like the right thing to do.”

This was the thought of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) Supervisory TSA Officer David Stoulig when a passenger approached him, asking for the best way to Gulfport, Mississippi.

STSO Stoulig
MSY Supervisory Officer David Stoulig (Photo by Frontis Ergle)

“I was standing on the curb on break, and this guy just started to talk to me,” said Stoulig. “I thought he just needed directions.”

But when Stoulig explained the passenger’s options – rideshare, car rental or Uber –  he could tell the answer didn’t go over very well. Seeing the passenger was clearly upset, Stoulig asked, “Are you okay?” 

That’s when the U.S. Air Force airman explained his predicament. His flight arrived in New Orleans late, and he missed his ride to his final destination — Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi — more than 100 miles away. 

That was only part of the problem.

His checked bags didn’t arrive with him at MSY, and the airline didn’t indicate when the luggage would arrive. Another military shuttle was available, but it was late, and the airman wasn’t sure he would get back to base on time if he waited.

Stoulig chats with MSY customer
Supervisory Officer David Stoulig chats with an MSY customer service agent. (Photo by Frontis Ergle)

Stoulig thought for a moment, wrote down his cellphone number, gave it to the airman and said, “If you don’t get this worked out, call me. I am off work in 30 minutes. I’ll take you to Biloxi.”

“I am not surprised at David’s actions,” said Deputy Assistant Federal Security Director Brad Meyer. “I have worked with David for the past 15 years. He has been one of the nicest individuals I have worked with and is one who would give the shirt off his back if you were in need. He is truly sincere, and I’m proud to work beside such a great individual.” 

After the 1 1/2-hour drive to Keesler’s main gate, the airman attempted to pay Stoulig for his gas. Stoulig refused the payment and told the young airman, “Your service to the country is payment enough.”

“Stoulig truly cares about people,” said MSY TSA Manager Frontis Ergle. “I truly believe this decision was easy for him because he saw a person with a need he could fulfill.”

In acknowledgement of his selflessness, Stoulig received a time-off award and was recognized in two supervisory daily briefs and the weekly supervisory meeting. Meyer also presented Stoulig with a certificate of appreciation and the MSY challenge coin for his outstanding actions.