Stranded passenger has a place to sleep

Friday, August 21, 2020
Bethany Pesley

Transportation Security Officer assists young soldier in distress after mistakenly arriving in Dothan, AL.

When an Army soldier arrived in Dothan, Alabama on June 25, he was left stranded and confused.

The 18-year-old soldier was originally scheduled to arrive in Virginia for training, but when his military base provided him with the wrong ticket, he found himself at Alabama's  Dothan Regional Airport (DHN) with no money, food nor connection to the internet.

DHN is a very small airport with one flight departing per day due to cancellations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noticing a passenger in distress, Transportation Security Officer (TSO) Bethany Presley took action in lending the young soldier her phone to get in contact with his military base. With the one flight scheduled having already departed, it became clear that the soldier would have to spend the night in Alabama.

“What worried all of us was that he couldn’t stay the night in the airport as it closes down,” Presley said. “At this point, I called my husband to run the situation by him.”

“My oldest daughter is 18-years-old,” said Presley. “This young soldier reminded me of my daughter, who I know would not do well in a stranded situation either.”

Knowing that the soldier had no money for shelter, Presley allowed him to stay at her guest house for the night. Additionally, Presley provided him with food and traveling money.

“The next afternoon, I brought him back to the airport to work the flight that he flew out on,” Presley said. “I have been in a stranded situation in London on the subway system, without a phone, so I felt like I could relate to this young man.”

For her efforts, Presley was awarded an “On-The-Spot” award by Federal Security Director (FSD) Gail Linkins.

“TSO Presley’s compassion and caring for the stranded soldier is a testimony to her character. Not many people would open their homes to a stranger, especially during these difficult times. I am honored to work with TSO Presley and the entire DHN team,” said Linkins.

“TSO Presley did a remarkable thing and went way above her call of duty to provide extraordinary customer service,” said STSO Sonya White.

Presley went beyond her job description to assist a person she saw in need and for that we thank her.