March 24, 2015 1:22 am
Updated: March 24, 2015 4:06 am

Alaska Airlines worker pays for Vancouver woman’s flight home

An Alaska Airlines employee used her own money to buy Miriam Thomas a flight ticket, asking for nothing in return except for Thomas to "pay it forward" to a stranger.

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A Vancouver woman is grateful to an Alaska Airlines employee who went to great lengths to get her home after a long flight delay.

Miriam Thomas was mired in the kind of red tape passengers often experience at the airport until an Alaska Airlines attendant used her own money to buy Thomas a ticket, asking for nothing in return except for her to “pay it forward” to a stranger.

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On her way home from a business trip in Ontario, CA, Thomas had problems with her flight on Delta Airlines, which partnered with Alaska Airlines. She tried to check in early, but was told she had to check in at the airport. Once she arrived, there was confusion.

“I started going back and forth between Delta and Alaska to try and figure out what was going wrong with my ticket,” she says.

She was eventually given a ticket, but not a seat assignment. After rushing through security, she was unable to get a seat on the plane and the flight took off without her. She then left the gate and tried to make arrangements to get on another flight.

Delta and Alaska tried to figure out what went wrong, with Delta agents saying they couldn’t get her on a plane until the following evening. They later offered a flight leaving that night.

Meanwhile, an Alaska agent offered to get her on a flight that morning using a voucher that let her fly stand-by.

According to Thomas, as the attendant appeared to fill out the travel voucher, her co-workers said, “Judy, Judy, you don’t have to do that.”

Thomas asked what was going on and one of them said, “Judy is paying out of her pocket to make sure you get a seat on this flight.”

Thomas was speechless.

“That’s OK,” said Judy to Thomas. “You pay it forward too. When you get home, you buy someone a coffee. Take your mom for a coffee.”

Thomas is trying to figure out how she can pay it forward. She has reached out to Alaska Airlines to find Judy and give her a gift. She is also looking for an opportunity to help a stranger. Perhaps the next time she’s in an airport she’ll assist a random traveller who is having trouble getting home.

“If I can help somebody who is stuck in a travel situation, I’d really love to help them somehow,” says Thomas. “I will be keeping an eye out.”

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