An Act of Airport Kindness Really Can Make a DifferenceBy Doreen R
This story might just be what we all need right now. In times of uncertainty, it warms our hearts to know that some people will go out of their way, no matter the doubt, discomfort, and difficulties that may arise as a result. To see something unjust happening to a stranger and to decide to take action is what being a productive and caring part of the human race is all about. This story is about a couple from Florida who were waiting patiently to check-in for a flight when they witnessed an act by airport officials that just couldn’t be overlooked. It’s what the couple did afterward that lets us know that we all need and should go the extra mile to rectify an unjust situation. After reading this tale, we hope we will be left to ask ourselves if we would bother to do the same or just mind our own business and continue with our lives.
We all know that some strict rules and regulations must be adhered to when flying anywhere in the 21st century, especially in a post 9/11 world. We know the rules are for our own safety, we get that, and for the most part, we understand and comply. But sometimes, just sometimes, we need to use common sense, judgment, and in this instance, maybe a bit of leniency should have been considered. But on the other hand, if common sense and compassion were considered, we wouldn’t have this amazing story to share with the world.
Ivelise Amarri Hernandez is Traveling
It was an ordinary warm and sunny day in Tampa Bay, Florida, when Ivelise Amarri Hernandez headed to the airport with her boyfriend, Rico Bankston. Rico, being the supportive partner he always is, was driving Ivelise to the St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport, so that she could catch her flight to Pittsburg, PA.
No one could have imagined that on this particular day, Ivelisse’s life would change, and she’d become a viral sensation. The two arrived early at the airport, so Rico parked the car and decided to wait with Ivelise for her flight, not imagining what was about to transpire
A Crowded Airport
The airport was crowded, but nothing too out of the ordinary. After looking around a bit, Ivelise and Rico found their gate and were proceeding towards it to get in line so that Ivelise could check-in. After checking in, the couple proceeded to the security area.
While standing in line, Ivelise and Rico noticed the gentleman in front of them was having a lengthy and emotional discussion with a member of airport security. After what appeared to be pleading and crying from the person in front of Ivelise, the man had to discard an item wrapped in plain brown paper. The couple was watching the scene unfold but still weren’t fully understanding what was happening.
Ivelise is Intrigued
Ivelise couldn’t stop thinking about what happened with the airport security personnel and the man forced to toss the package into the nearby trash bin. She knew that the item had to be more than, say, a simple bottle of water. The man was distraught and looked like he was crying.
The man had completed the security check and was headed to his departure gate. But Ivelise couldn’t stop thinking about the item he tossed in the trash bin. Before it was her turn at the security check, Ivelise’s brain was working overtime.
Ivelise Asks Rico for a Favor
As Rico wasn’t traveling that day, Ivelise asked Rico to check the trash can and see what the man was forced to get rid of. Rico did as asked, and he found a wrapped package in brown paper. He took the package, not knowing what it was, and assured Ivelise he would hold onto it.
Rico had also witnessed the incident and understood that the tossed item was of great value to the man at the airport. Although he wasn’t sure what he was in possession of, he nevertheless took the wrapped parcel home with him.
Rico Opens the Package
After bidding goodbye to his girlfriend at the airport, Rico took the wrapped item home with him. When he got home and removed the brown paper, he was shocked at what he found. It was a snow-globe. But this was not just any snow-globe.
The item while seemingly ordinary, was anything but. The snow-globe contained two pictures one of a young girl and another of an older couple. There was also an engraving on the bottom of the snow-globe and it didn’t take a genius to realize this was an extremely sentimental item.
Liquids and Airports Don’t Mix
As we’re all aware, and after the events of 9/11, there are strict limitations for how much liquid one can take aboard a flight. No more than 100 ml are allowed per person. We’re assuming that the airport personnel knows how much liquid is in a snowglobe, which would explain why the man was instructed to toss it.
To be fair, we did our research and found that snow globes, on average contain four times more than the legal limit of liquid allowed by the TSA. In the majority of cases, the liquid inside a snowglobe contains water, glycerin, and/or anti-freeze, which is what actually causes the snow to fall slowly when shaken.
Snow Globes and Airports
While we don’t have the specifics of this particular snow globe, here are some interesting facts. TSA regulations stipulate that snow globes that are bigger than the average tennis ball are prohibited from being carried onto a flight in one’s carry-on bag, regardless of the amount of liquid.
Smaller snow globes are not an issue and can come on board with passengers. Apparently, this particular item didn’t fall into that category, which is why it was required to be tossed. But then, if the item were allowed on board with the gentleman, this story would never have happened, and that would truly be a shame.
Ivelise Lands in Pittsburgh, PA
Upon landing in Pittsburgh, Ivelise was still replaying what happened at the airport. She contacted Rico, who told her what the man had tossed away. She got a picture of the snow-globe and quickly internalized that this item was more than just an ordinary gift shop purchase.
She knew she had to do something to return the item to its intended recipient. The only problem was she wasn’t sure how even to get started. She was in Pittsburg, the snow-globe was in Florida, and she had no clue who the man at the airport was. All we know is that Ivelise refused to drop the issue.
Ivelise is Considering Her Options
Upon realizing that the snow globe was of great sentimental value, Ivelise knew she had to get it back to the man in the airport. At this point, the reality was setting in, and it didn’t look good. She couldn’t figure out a way to get the snow-globe to some unknown stranger she most likely couldn’t pick out of a line-up.
Ivelise wasn’t sure how to proceed; all she knew was that she wanted to get the sentimental gift back to the man she saw for only a few moments in a crowded airport. She decided to give social media a try, even though she wasn’t exactly an influencer and didn’t have that many friends or followers.
Ivelise is One Determined Lady
After understanding the only way to get the snow-globe back to the stranger at the airport, was to try her luck on Facebook, Ivelise got to work. After landing in Pittsburgh, she wrote about what happened at the airport on her Facebook page and posted some snaps of the snow-globe that Rico had sent her.
She didn’t expect much to happen after posting her tale on Facebook, but something did happen. She began receiving many replies and realized the post was being shared all over social media. The shares were growing, and the replies were increasing.
Social Media Can’t Get Enough
That one single innocent post, to Ivelise’s surprise, went viral. Before she knew what was happening, her post was shared nearly 50,000 times. No one can pinpoint why a specific story goes viral, but we’re thinking the fact that a snow globe containing sentimental engraving and pictures of a family may have had something to do with it.
The world was enthralled by the tale of the tossed snow globe, and everyone wanted this story to have a happy ending. Thankfully, the post was so widely shared; it was bound to reach the right set of eyes eventually.
It Appeared Hopeless
After sifting through endless comments on her Facebook page, with tips and suggestions on how to find the rightful owner, she was losing hope. Too many months had gone by without a single lead, and Ivelise was starting to realize she may never find the owner of the snow-globe.
While the story was gaining attention on nearly all social media outlets, nothing concrete was coming up. Ivelise was starting to believe she’d never be able to return the snow-globe to its owners. But in this case, the universe was determined to reunite the custom made gift with its eventual recipient.
The Gift Shop That Carries the Snow Globe
While Ivelise didn’t find the owner of the snow globe with her Facebook post, she was contacted by an employee at a gift-shop called ‘Things Remembered.’ The employee was able to help her with the make and model of the snow globe as well as the company that produces them.
Ivelise wasted no time and contacted the company’s main headquarters in Ohio. She forwarded them the post and asked if they could help her track down the person who ordered the snow-globe. The company was able to track down the customer who ordered that specific snow-globe.
Ivelise Finds the Buyer of the Snow-Globe
Things Remembered found the customer, Linda Modry, who ordered the custom made snow-globe and asked if they could forward her contact information to Ivelise. Naturally, Modry complied with the request. The details were forwarded to Ivelise.
Ivelise contacted Linda Modry, and the two women began talking. When Modry heard how Ivelise came to be in possession of the snow-globe, she was thrilled that the item was recovered. Even more surprising was that Modry lived not too far from Rico and Ivelise’s hometown of Tampa Bay, Fl.
Meet Linda Modry
Linda Modry, also a Florida resident, ordered the custom snow-globe for her grandaughter’s fifth birthday. The loving grandmother had the snow-globe engraved with ‘We love you, Katie. Love Nana and Papa, 1.25. 2016’ Linda also placed a picture of Katie as well as a picture of herself and her husband inside the snow-globe.
The gift was given to their son, Michael, who visited his parents in Florida for his daughter Katie. Not for a moment did anyone think that the item would be considered a flight hazard or a security concern. Come on, it was an innocent snow-globe that contained pictures of a child and her grandparents.
The Local Media Shows Interest
By the time Linda Modry was contacted by Things Remembered, the local media was getting wind of the story. The viral story was making waves, and they realized they might have a real human interest story worth pursuing. They knew that if the grandmother was to retrieve the lost treasure, they would want it caught on tape.
The news outlets didn’t know that Linda and Ivelise haven’t yet met in person. But when they found out, they had a plan that was sure to spike ratings for their local news show. They went ahead and contacted Linda to move forward on retrieving the snow-globe.
Ivelise Gets Linda’s Deets
Ivelise and Rico received Linda Modry’s contact details. The couple hadn’t yet set up a meeting date with the grandmother to return the loving gift they bought their little Katie. They were planning on setting something up soon but just didn’t get around to it.
The couple was at home one afternoon, busy with their own daily lives, and not thinking anything amazing was about to happen. It was an unusually rainy day in Tampa Bay, and the two were home. But this day was about to change Ivelise’s life forever.
Knock Knock, Who’s There?
With a tropical storm in the area, Ivelise and Rico decided to stay indoors at home. But suddenly there was a knock at the door. Ivelise opened the door to find a news crew outside their front door. Ivelise and Linda were now face to face and staring at each other.
Within seconds the two smiled and embraced each other. The bond between the two was immediate and heartfelt. Linda was carrying a large bouquet of colorful and vibrant flowers, and Ivelise’s eyes were clearly tearing up at the grandmother’s gesture.
There’s More to This Story Than Meets the Eye
Returning the snow-globe to its owners would seem like the end of this story, but it’s not. The custom-made glass globe was a gift for Linda Modry’s granddaughter Katie, who was soon to be turning five years old. But this wasn’t just an ordinary birthday gift for a five-year-old.
Katie was recently adopted, and her fifth birthday would be the first with her new parents and grandparents. This fact alone made the gift even more memorable and important that it was returned. The date engraved on the bottom of the snow-globe was marked as January 25, 2016, which wasn’t Katie’s birthday, but something altogether more important.
January 25, 2016
January 25, 2016, was the date Katie was legally adopted and officially became Linda’s granddaughter. Katie lives in Ohio with her parents. Michael, Katie’s dad, and Linda’s son adopted the young girl on that date, and the snow globe’s inscription was all the more sentimental because of it.
That date was the day Katie’s life changed forever and for the better. Not many older children get adopted, but Katie was one of the lucky ones, and she was awarded with loving adoptive parents and a new extended family on January 25, 2016
Ivelise and Michael Speak
During the emotional face-to-face meeting between Ivelise and Linda, and with the news cameras documenting every minute, Linda had one more thing to do. She took out her phone and dialed her son Michael to let him know that the snow globe had been found and returned.
Linda then handed the phone to Ivelise to speak with Michael. At this time, Ivelise realized that Michael was the man at the airport who was forced to toss the valuable keepsake into the trash bin. The full-circle moment was caught on tape, and it was a moment neither would ever forget.
‘People Are Basically Good’
This was the comment made by Katie’s grandmother Linda Modry. She was quick to praise the efforts of Ivelise Amarri Hernandez. The fact that the young woman was unwavering in her intent to reunite the tossed item with its rightful owner proves this.
Linda was so overwhelmed by the whole experience that she couldn’t stop gushing about the act of kindness made by Ivelise and went on to say that ‘she’s just exceptional’. This statement is of course obvious to us as well. Ivelise, in an interview with another news outlet, stated that she was raised by her mother always to try to do good deeds. Ivelise went on to say in the interview that if she were in the same position, she hoped the same would be done for her as well.
Katie Gets her Snow Globe
Grandma Linda has since personally delivered the gift to her granddaughter Katie. She learned from her son Michael’s mistake, to pack the item in her checked luggage and not in her carry-on luggage. The much-hyped about gift has finally found its home in Katie’s room.
The snow globe is proudly displayed in Katie’s bedroom. The story surrounding the touching gift will surely be told for years and years. We’re confident that Katie, Linda, and Michael are beyond grateful that Ivelise never gave up hope, despite the huge odds, in finding the little girl who was to receive this very special keepsake.
Ivelise is Feeling the Love
Ivelise wasted no time in updating the happy ending on her Facebook page, which again went viral. The media was quick to update their audiences that this story had a nearly fairy-tale ending. Ivelise even posted her story on the popular ‘Love What Matters’ Facebook page.
The post garnered thousands of positive replies. People were quick to applaud and cheer Ivelise for her selfless act of kindness. The heart-warming story was viewed by a large audience and again gained lots of attention across all social media platforms.
Where is Ivelise Now?
Just like Katie’s story had a happy ending, we’re thrilled to update on Ivelise’s life. Two years after returning the snow globe to Katie, Ivelise is expecting her first child. We are all pretty sure that Ivelise will instill the same values in her child that her mother instilled in her.
We can also rest assured that Ivelise will teach her child the importance of doing good for others. We are also pretty sure she will teach her child to double-check on what’s allowed in a carry-on bag before attempting to board any flights.
Why We Care
While we may never know the exact reason this story went viral, we do know that the public loves a story with a happy ending. While most of us probably wouldn’t think twice about some stranger having to toss something away in an airport, we’re thankful that Ivelise Hernandez didn’t go on about her day and do nothing.
We love it when people are determined to do the right thing. We admire it when it’s done simply because it’s the right thing to do. Ivelise could never have predicted the world would sit up and take notice of an everyday event. And, that’s exactly why this story is such a valuable lesson for all of us.
Pay it Forward
When we think of how a simple post on an individual’s Facebook page could erupt into a nation getting involved, it’s truly an eye-opener. So many of us think a small act won’t make a difference, but this story proves just what a huge impact the smallest of acts can achieve.
The impact of social media isn’t anything new. Influencers and celebrities know the value of social media, but the everyday mortal can’t imagine that a simple post can cause such a ripple effect. The ripple effect of one woman’s act of caring is beyond anything that can ever be put into words.