Airline reunites army vet with vintage war hat: ‘I cannot express how thankful I am’

Elise Solé
John Armao Reber, a Vietnam veteran, lost his special hat on a recent Spirit Airlines plane. A flight attendant who found it, is mailing it back. (Photo: Facebook/John Armao Reber)
John Armao Reber, a Vietnam veteran, lost his special hat on a recent Spirit Airlines plane. A flight attendant who found it, is mailing it back. (Photo: Facebook/John Armao Reber)

Spirit Airlines is mailing a sentimental hat to an army veteran who misplaced the souvenir on a flight and pleaded for its return on Facebook.

On Monday, John Armao Reber, who, according to CBS Philly, served aboard the USS Hornet from 1966 to 1967, wrote a mournful Facebook post: My Veteran’s Cap was lost on a Spirit Airlines Flight from Orlando to Philadelphia, Feb. 1. The hat and its attachments are over 45 years old. One of a Kind I am asking everyone to forward this to as many people as possible to help recover it.”

In two days — and after 330K people shared the post — Reber heard from Spirit. A flight attendant named Catherine Edwards from Dallas had found the vintage black hat and reached out to Reber, agreeing to send it by mail.

Reber posted Wednesday, “The hat has been found. … I want to thank everyone across this great nation for responding to the call. The heartwarming responses came from every state in the union. America sure does care about her veterans. Many responses brought tears to my eyes, many mentioned their own family members who have served. I cannot express how thankful I am to all of you and also Spirit Airlines from the corporate level on down. … The hat now belongs to all of you and will symbolize your love and kindness. You are America.”

Spirit wrote back on Facebook, “Hey John, we are grateful for your service and our Spirit Family is honored to have been able to help locate your Veteran’s cap. Thank you for flying Spirit!”

“Great Airline,” wrote Reber. “I will always go with the Spirit. Thank you again.”

“We’re so happy to have been able to help locate your cap and we thank you so much for kind words,” wrote the company.

An airline rep tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “At Spirit Airlines we strive to reunite all of our Guests with their lost property. Understanding the sentimental nature of this hat, our Crew worked to ensure the item was kept safe. It is in the process of being returned to its owner. On behalf of Spirit Airlines, we’d like to thank Mr. Reber for his service and sacrifice.”

Reber did not reply to Yahoo Lifestyle.

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