A father and his daughter were stranded at an airport because the girl was not old enough to fly. To assist them, a generous woman kept them for four days at her house.
Rubin Swift, a 43-year-old parent, had not anticipated the airline would reject them because his daughter was too young and lacked a birth certificate. But, instead, they were obliged to stop over at Phoenix International Airport.
Frontier Airlines requires that infants be at least seven days old to fly. Unfortunately, Rubin’s daughter, Ru-Andria, was not old enough yet.
While stranded at the airport, Rubin did not have enough money to rent a hotel or reserve a car to travel home. However, he did not have much choice. He considered sleeping at the airport and waiting until he received his daughter’s birth certificate, but he quickly realized that was not a feasible option.
Rubin said he ran out of money and was told he wouldn’t acquire the birth certificate for another seven days. He was concerned about what would happen if security discovered him sleeping with a newborn at the airport. “They’d take her away from me and charge me with neglect. I was stuck,” he said.
When Tiffany, Rubin’s wife, received a call from her husband, she was perplexed. She said: “When he called me from the airport and told me that they weren’t going to let him fly until he could get a birth certificate in four days, I felt panicked.” She did not want her husband and baby to spend the night at the airport, but she felt they had no choice.
While stuck, Rubin immediately thought of a female NICU volunteer he met while visiting his daughter at Banner University Medical Center. It’s complicated but Rubin had just been granted custody of his daughter just after her birth. He visited his daughter for the first time and began bonding with her at Banner University Medical Center.
There, he met NICU volunteer Joy Ringhofer, who was 78 at the time. He quickly called her and told her about the incident.
Joy Ringhofer is a 78-years-old widow. She had generously driven Rubin to the airport and left her phone number by chance.
Following Rubin’s call, she decided to return to the airport to pick up Ru-Andria and her father. “I’m going to take you home with me, so wait right there,” Joy said.
Rubin and little Ru-Andria faced numerous threats, as Joy was well aware. However, she enjoyed talking to Rubin and helping him with the baby from the time she met him in the hospital. She did not hesitate to help the two, thinking of Rubin as a pleasant, compassionate, and warm-hearted parent.
She came, opened the door to the father and his daughter, and spent the next four days with him, and cared for his daughter. The trapped father was deeply moved by the widow’s kindness.
Rubin was overjoyed to phone his wife and tell her that he and his daughter had received help.
“I’m black and she is white. I’m a stranger who grew up in the projects in the Bronx and she’s a great-grandmother who recently lost her husband. She knew very little about me, and yet, she took me in,” Rubin said of Joy.
He also said that Joy did not care about skin color, that she did not discriminate, and that she had shown him that even in this crazy, chaotic world, there are still good people.
During the four-day wait, they talked, took Ru-Andria for a walk, went grocery shopping, and even went to Joy’s late husband’s cemetery together. Ru-Andria loved Joy, and she beamed with delight whenever she heared her voice.
Rubin could see Joy’s anguish when she visited the cemetery of Charles, Joy’s late husband. He felt Joy is just like a mother or grandmother to him. “Hey, Charles, look — it’s your new granddaughter,” he said to Charles’ grave.
Finally, when the birth certificate was completed, Rubin and his daughter would be able to come home with his wife and children. He missed Joy a lot, so the two decided to keep in touch through Facetime on a regular basis.
“We just knew that we’d always be in touch from that day forward. We started out as strangers, and ended up as good friends,” Joy said. She knew that Rubin was grateful to her, but she was also grateful for the opportunity to get to know him and his daughter.
In the video below, you can see their touching narrative unfold.