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Delta CEO gives up seat for mom late to pick up daughter

6:56 AM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA -- A mom trying to get home to pick up her young daughter from a summer camp for children with diabetes is singing the praises of Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson, after the executive gave up his seat on a flight so that she could make it home.

The passenger, Jessie Frank, said she was not aware who had given up the seat until the flight was arriving in Atlanta.

Frank wrote about the experience on Facebook, where she posted "An open letter to Delta CEO Richard Anderson."

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She wrote that she was having a particularly "harrowing" flying day. Due to bad weather, there were multiple delays and cancellations. There was also a mechanical failure. As a result, a two-hour flight turned into an entire day, she said.

Frank, who lists Atlanta as her hometown on Facebook, wrote that the dozen Delta employees with whom she had contact were "calm, kind, diligent, funny ... and really went out of their way to try to help me."

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But all the while, she worried she wouldn't make it home in time to personally pick up her 12-year-old daughter from camp. Frank said she never mentioned where she needed to go.

Frank wrote that while someone else could have picked up her daughter, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, "pick-up day gives me a glimpse into that special world where she's just like everyone else, she's a little bit of a different person for the rest of the day. By the next day, it's back to the harsh realities of managing a difficult, deadly, incurable disease that kills 1 in 20 before the age of 18."

Another excerpt from Frank's letter says, "I was 8th on the standby list, showing 0 seats left. I was about to give up, but the counter agent stopped me from leaving. He called 7 names... and then, finally, I was the last to be called. As we rushed down the jetway, the flight attendant at the plane shook her head - not a good sign - but then paused, talked to someone, and waved us down anyway. A vaguely familiar face met me at the doorway, not in uniform so probably an off-duty pilot I had seen before. He quickly grabbed my roll-aboard, helped clear a space in the overhead, and showed me to my seat."

Frank continued, "As the plane descended into Atlanta, the flight attendant announced that there was a special guest on board. He was riding in a jump seat, because he had given up his place to allow one more person on that flight. That special guest was you: Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta."

Frank concluded her letter to Anderson, "Thank you, Richard Anderson. As a result of your leadership and the actions of yourself and your employees, I had my special day with my special child. You and your employees gave us both one more day of happiness, and for that, we are both very grateful. I have always been a loyal Delta customer, but Thursday solidified that loyalty for life! To all Delta employees who helped me on Thursday: thank you again."

The Facebook post was picked up by The Huffington Post.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Delta confirmed the note was, indeed, "fantastic" and true.

(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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