TAMPA, FLA. (WSVN) – A Florida teacher put her lesson planning to the test outside of the classroom when she helped total strangers find their luggage after their Southwest Airlines flights were cancelled.
More than 100 Southwest flights were canceled at Tampa International Airport over the last week, and customers are still looking for lost luggage.
Tampa schoolteacher Brittany Loubier-Vervisch on Friday described the moment she came down the escalator at the airport the day after Christmas when her flight to Denver was canceled.
“There’s bags everywhere. There’s bags fully filling this space between the escalators,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Not long after, she and her husband encountered travelers searching for their luggage.
“We talked to a couple in front of us and some ladies behind us, and they’ve been going back and forth to the airport for three to four days each to try to retrieve their luggage,” she said. “They’re like, ‘Yeah, we had to go buy all new clothes.’”
With more than 10,000 Southwest flights canceled across the country on Christmas week, hundreds of thousands of passengers got separated from their checked bags and everything they own inside.
One of them was Glenn Rodriguez.
“When we landed — actually with United, because we originally booked with Southwest — there was a line three hours long, so at that point getting in at midnight, we weren’t waiting in line to look for bags,” he said, “so I came back on Christmas, and there was still a line, so I said no. Came back on Monday, got four out of the six, and then now I’m getting the sixth one today.”
Like him, many people gave up. but Loubier-Vervisch did the exact opposite.
“My husband’s still in line, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m seeing all these phone numbers, I’ll just send a text to, like, this person,’” she said. “I started texting people as stuff came off the plane, and I was actually able to meet a man and woman that were able to claim seven pieces of luggage for their family.”
The teacher sent 70 texts in about two hours. Twenty bounced back as landlines, but 50 went through.
One of the texts Loubier-Vervisch wrote reads, “Your bag is in Tampa by Claim 15, Door 166 (I’m just a random person looking for my luggage).”
“Several people have messaged, and we’re like, ‘Oh, we got there, and the bag was right where you said it would be,’” she said
One person responded, “Thank you so much for texting about my luggage! Seriously, you’ve made my day, and I appreciate you taking the time to text,” with a Dunkin’ E-Giftcard.
“There are people out there doing huge amounts to help others, and I did like the smallest thing, but that just happened to present itself and I happened to be able to do,” said Loubier-Vervisch.
Loubier-Vervisch and her husband are currently vacationing in Miami in order to avoid more flying frustrations.
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