Opinion: The importance of meeting Ernst

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Friends, there are good people in this world. Case in point — Ernst Brionne. He’s a Delta Airlines agent in New York who single-handedly salvaged an overseas trip for me and my youngest. Enjoy.

Our adventure began easily enough. We flew from Indy to JFK, no problem, and then boarded our overnight flight. Unfortunately, a series of delays, including a broken seat, a malfunctioning navigation system, and then noxious fumes from a burning air-conditioning unit, led to three hours on the tarmac and the eventual rescheduling for the following afternoon. Not ideal, but we rolled with it and used the next morning to explore Queens and the aptly named Flushing Meadows Park.

But as we were packing to go back to the airport, my daughter couldn’t locate her passport, and neither could I. Panic and tears ensued as we quickly realized it had probably been left on the original plane. This was at noon; our international flight left at 4 p.m.

Once at JFK, we were told multiple times, “There’s nothing we can do.” Until we met Ernst. He immediately offered to personally locate and search the old plane. For 90 excruciatingly long minutes, we waited for Ernst. Other travelers came and went, a toddler threw up on my shoe, and we reconciled the fact that we’d most likely be heading home. When Ernst eventually returned, shaking his head in a “no luck” manner, we were crushed.

But Ernst is a jokester. He’d found it! Here was a man who’d abandoned his post and walked more than 2 miles for absolute strangers to help in a moment of crisis.

There are good people in this world.

Peace out.

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