When a cancer patient loses her luggage, an airline employee goes the extra mile to help

November 10, 2017 5:06 pm Last Updated: November 13, 2017 3:43 pm

Losing your luggage at an airport is never fun. Not having access to your clean clothes, toiletries, and other supplies is incredibly frustrating, especially if you don’t know when they’ll get back to you.

Yet, for 46-year-old Stacy Hurt, losing her bag was more than a minor annoyance. That bag was full of things she needed for chemotherapy the next morning.

Hurt was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer back in 2014 and has been taking maintenance chemotherapy ever since. Her bag contained medication for chemotherapy side effects, as well as the rosary and t-shirt she planned to wear to her appointment. With her appointment at 9:00 am, she doubted that Southwest Airlines would be able to get her luggage to her in time.

“I sort of panicked,” Hurt told ABC News, “I said, ‘I need that luggage. It has a lot of items I need for chemotherapy tomorrow.’”

Hurt found herself in a catch-22. The reason that her luggage got lost was because she had to change her reservation to a direct flight from Nashville to Pittsburgh in order to make it to her chemotherapy appointment on time. However, Southwest had taken her bag to her previously-booked connecting flight.

Had she not changed her flight, she may have had her luggage but not made it to her appointment on time. Yet, in changing her flight, she lost her luggage and would have to go to the appointment without it … or so she thought.

Luckily, Sarah Rowan, a 27-year-old customer service agent in Southwest’s Pittsburgh office, was on the case. She had only been working for Southwest for about six months, but she was determined to assist her customers in any way she could. She picked up one of Hurt’s phone calls on the evening of July 23rd and worked her hardest to try and track Hurt’s luggage down. No matter what hour Hurt’s bag came in, Rowan promised to give her an update.

When the bag finally arrived at 2:00 am, it had missed the last courier. Nobody was going to deliver her bag until morning. At least, that’s what Rowan thought at first. She was just about to finish her shift when she got an idea.

“I looked up her address to see how far away she lived and she lived about 20 minutes away,” Rowan said. “So in my head, me getting home a little bit later was less important than her getting the bag she needed for her chemotherapy treatment.”

When Hurt awoke the next morning, she found her luggage sitting on her porch—along with a handwritten note from Rowan. Hurt had been impressed with Southwest in the past for making accommodations for her disabled son, but this just went above and beyond.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God. Are you kidding me?’” said Hurt, “I started to cry when I read the note.”


Hurt posted the note on Facebook where it reached Rowan’s boss. They were so impressed by Rowan’s kind gesture that they decided to share the story with Southwest’s official Facebook page.

“We are very proud of Sarah’s kind, empathetic actions that represent the best of Southwest hospitality and the legendary customer service that our wonderful employees aim to deliver every day,” the airline wrote in a statement to ABC News.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The airline sweetened the deal by gifting Hurt a “swag bag,” full of travel necessities like earbuds and a phone charger. Hurt is extremely grateful for Southwest as a whole, but especially grateful for Rowan. Ever since Hurt’s luggage was returned, the two women have remained in contact.

“She just epitomizes everything good,” Hurt said of Rowan, “When you have cancer and you have chemo, this is the toughest thing ever.”

“For her to pick up on what a difficult situation this is and put my mind at ease and make me feel comfortable and to go through what she went through to get my luggage to me, she is an amazing person.”

[via ABC News]