Cleveland dad Rubin Swift flew to Phoenix to pick up his 4-day-old daughter, Ru-Andria, after being granted custody of her.
As WSMV reports, before their flight, Swift spoke with Frontier Airlines about the proper documentation needed for his newborn to board the flight.
He was told she needed a birth certificate and a note from the hospital stating Ru-Andria was clear to fly.
Swift had the baby’s birth certificate and her flight clearance letter from the hospital, but when he arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, he was told they couldn’t fly back home to Ohio yet.Screenshot/WSMV
According to Frontier Airlines’ policy, babies under seven days old cannot fly. And the airline would not accept Ru-Andria’s hospital note.
Swift suddenly found himself stranded in Phoenix for three days, without money for a rental car to drive back home.
He told WSMV:
“I asked for my money. They said it would take seven days to get your money back.”
Swift also couldn’t afford a hotel either.
Then he remembered Joy Ringhofer, the volunteer who took care of Ru-Andria at the hospital right after her birth. He barely knew Banner University Medical Center’s volunteer, yet the dad was in a tough situation. So he picked up the phone and called her.
To his surprise, she picked up Swift and his daughter from the airport.
Swift described their phone conversation:
“I didn’t expect her to say, ‘I’m coming to get you and take you home.’
So, I’m thinking, ‘She is going to drive me back to Cleveland’ but she actually brought me to her house and [fed] me.”
The father and newborn stayed with Ringhofer during the three day waiting period. During this time, he and Ringhofer developed a friendship based on their love for his daughter.
“We’re two different colors and she opened up her door and it never was an issue. My color was never an issue. She loves my baby. She held her. My baby was with her all night. Who does that?”
He now looks to her as a grandmother to his daughter now. He said:
“She looked after me. I’m grateful.”
Ringhofer described her instant connection with the father and his child.
“I was rocking her when her father came in and we sort of made a connection right away.”
Ringhofer explained why she took them in:
“I had such a strong feeling that I needed to do this for him. I know he was a kind and safe man to have in my home and he has been a perfect gentleman.”
Swift promised to come back to Phoenix and visit “grandma” Ringhofer.
According to WSMV, Frontier Airlines said:
To comply with Frontier policy regarding the age of traveling infants these passengers were rebooked on a Frontier flight department on March 20. We also waived any change fees associated with this change so the passenger can travel in accordance with our policy.
Swift and his daughter were finally able to fly back home from Phoenix on Tuesday.