After TSA officials made a man throwaway a cherished gift, social media helped a Tampa couple reunite a family with an important item.
12. An Unordinary Encounter
It was just an ordinary flight from St. Petersburg-International Airport for Rico Bankston and his girlfriend, Ivelise Hernandez. They expected a long wait to get through metal detectors, but they got way more when they bargained for when they witnessed a man being dressed down by a TSA agent.
11. TSA Bullies
The TSA agent loudly told a man that a small package he was carrying could not be carried on the flight. His only option, according to TSA, was to throw the object in the trash. The man pleaded his case, but the agent would not relent. Finally, he gave up and threw the object in the trash.
10. What’s in the Trash?
The way the man had been treated bothered Ivelise and Rico. As they approached the spot where he had been in line, Ivelise nudged her boyfriend forward. She had to know what it was that the man was so insistent about saving. When they finally got to the front of the line, Ivelise peered in the trash can and she couldn’t believe her eyes.
9. A Snow Globe
Inside the trash was a beautiful snow globe. As she retrieved it from the trash, Ivelise noticed that it had two photographs inside: one of a little girl and a dog, and one of an older couple. It also had the inscription “We love you Katie. Nana and Papa 1/25/16.”
8. Too Much Liquid
Apparently, TSA said it was not permitted on the flight because it contained too much liquid. The man who put the snow globe in the garbage had been in tears. “He was devastated,” Ivelise said. In fact, he almost missed his flight while arguing with the TSA. Although Ivelise tried to track him down, “By the time we went to say ‘hey what’s your number, what’s your address?’ he was already gone.”
7. A New Mission
“That’s a treasure for someone else and you had to throw away your own present, I didn’t like that at all and right then and there I knew we had to get this to him.” She told Rico to take the snow globe home. A week later, Ivelise returned home from her trip. She and Rico then turned to the snow globe. How could they find the owner?
6. Social Media
First, she posted about the globe on Facebook. Although neither Ivelise or Rico had big social media followings, they were quite surprised when it got over 40,000 shares in just a week. Although that is a lot of shares, no one stepped forward to claim the snow globe.
5. A Breakthrough
That’s when they got a message that pushed the search forward. An employee from Things Remembered recalled a customer coming into the store to design the snow globe. The customer’s name was Linda Modry. They looked up Lisa and found that she lived in Tampa.
4. Everyone was Thrilled
When they got the phone call from Lisa, they were thrilled. “I was excited I got to the point where I almost started crying,” Ivelise said. “I felt so happy for them.” Lisa invited them to her house, where the couple learned the beautiful story behind the gift.
3. A Special Gift for a Special Girl
Lisa purchased the snow globe as a special gift for her granddaughter, who lives in Ohio. “Oh, I just can’t believe it, you don’t know what we went through, this was just a really special, something special,” Modry said. Lisa couldn’t wait to get the gift to her granddaughter for her birthday. She explained that the date on the gift was not Katie’s birthday, it was something very special.
2. Happy Adoption Day
Lisa explained that the date was Katie’s adoption day. The grandparents wanted something to commemorate the day their granddaughter became an official member of the family. She wanted her son Michael to fly home to Ohio and present the snow globe to his little girl in time for her birthday.
1. The Kindness of Strangers
Now, because of Rico and Ivelise, that’s exactly what happened. The thrilled grandmother gave Ivelise a bouquet of flowers as a reward for doing such a good deed. “It was raining when I picked it up. A good thing, because we were all crying,” said Lisa. It just goes to show you that there are good people in the world.