Delta CEO gives up airplane seat to mom

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jun 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-24 07:30:58-04

(CNN) — Jessie Frank had spent the entire day trying to get home.

When a man in a collared shirt and tie placed her carry-on luggage in an overhead compartment and pointed her in the direction of her seat, she didn’t give it a second thought. She assumed he must have been an off-duty pilot.

“As the plane descended into Atlanta, the flight attendant announced that there was a special guest on board,” wrote Frank, in a letter to Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson. “He was riding in a jump seat, because he had given up his place to allow one more person on that flight. That special guest was you: Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta.”

After she landed, Frank shared her story and gratitude in an open letter on her Facebook page. Since posting the letter, it’s been shared nearly 1,500 times, commented on dozens of times, and received nearly 200 “likes.”

In her open letter to Anderson, Frank mentioned that she really wanted to pick up her daughter, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, from camp.

While someone else could have picked up her daughter, “pick-up day gives me a glimpse into that special world where she’s just like everyone else, she’s a little bit of a different person for the rest of the day,” wrote Frank. “By the next day, it’s back to the harsh realities of managing a difficult, deadly, incurable disease that kills 1 in 20 before the age of 18.”

Initially coming from New York, Frank had been rerouted to Washington, and had waited for hours at Reagan National Airport before being led down the gateway, then told there were no seats available, and then waived back into the plane. Rushing to make it home before Friday, Frank was worried she wouldn’t make it home in time to pick up her 12-year-old daughter.

Frank told CNN that while she’s not a “big Facebook person,” she thought it was important to share her incredible experience. She’s read up on Anderson since that night, and says he seems like the “Sam Walton” of the airlines.

Wanting to share her story with Delta, Frank reposted her letter on Delta’s Facebook page. Since June 17, it’s gotten 194 “likes” and dozens of comments, including a personal thanks from a Delta employee named Cecelia.

Saying she couldn’t remember the last time she flew an airline other than Delta, Frank says the comments she’s received are 99% positive, and has been overwhelmed with the responses. While Frank doesn’t expect to hear from Anderson, she hopes her open letter ended up on his desk, and that he knows how much she appreciated his gesture.

Anderson was returning to Atlanta from a business trip,said Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton.

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