A Southwest Airlines employee who personally delivered lost luggage to a passenger’s home in the middle of the night is being called a “guardian angel" by the woman she helped.
Sarah Rowan, 27, a customer service agent in Southwest’s Pittsburgh office, was answering customer calls the evening of July 23 when she got a panicked call from Stacy Hurt, who had just flown from Nashville to Pittsburgh on a Southwest flight.
Hurt, 46, changed her reservation to a direct flight in order to make it home in time for her monthly chemotherapy appointment the next morning. Hurt, of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2014 and remains on maintenance chemotherapy indefinitely.
Hurt’s luggage remained on her previously booked connecting flight, which was rerouted back to Nashville due to mechanical issues.
“I sort of panicked,” Hurt recalled. “I said, ‘I need that luggage. It has a lot of items I need for chemotherapy tomorrow.’”
Packed away in Hurt’s luggage were medications Hurt takes for chemotherapy side effects as well as personal items like a rosary and favorite t-shirt that Hurt, a mother of two, planned to take to her appointment.
On the other end of the call, Rowan, a Southwest employee for just six months, heard Hurt’s panic but also appreciated her patience.
“She was just as sweet as can be,” Rowan told ABC News. “Things that are out of their control can be frustrating for people, but for someone who is going through so much to be so patient and kind towards us, I appreciated it so much.”
Rowan told Hurt that she would continue to track her luggage and keep her posted, no matter the hour.
Rowan also knew that if Hurt's luggage did not arrive before 1:30 a.m., it would miss the last courier and likely not reach Hurt until hours after her 9 a.m. chemotherapy appointment.
When Hurt’s bag arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport around 2 a.m., Rowan, just finishing her shift, stepped into action.
“I looked up her address to see how far away she lived and she lived about 20 minutes away,” Rowan said. “So in my head, me getting home a little bit later was less important than her getting the bag she needed for her chemotherapy treatment.”
Hurt woke up the next morning to her luggage sitting on her front porch with a note wishing her good luck at her appointment.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God. Are you kidding me?,’” said Hurt, who added she already appreciated Southwest because of the accommodations they make for her disabled son. ”I started to cry when I read the note.”
Hurt posted the note on Facebook, where it reached Rowan’s boss and was shared this week on Southwest’s Facebook page.
“We are very proud of Sarah’s kind, empathetic actions that represent the best of Southwest hospitality and the legendary customer service that our wonderful employees aim to deliver every day,” the airline said in a statement to ABC News.
The airline also sent Hurt a “swag bag” filled with travel necessities like a phone charger and earbuds.
“She just epitomizes everything good,” Hurt said of Rowan, who she’s since communicated with on social media. “When you have cancer and you have chemo, this is the toughest thing ever.”
She continued, “For her to pick up on what a difficult situation this is and put my mind at ease and make me feel comfortable and to go through what she went through to get my luggage to me, she is an amazing person.”