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Airline retrieves ‘Daddy Shirt’ for 7-year-old boy who lost his dad

Delta employees dig through trash to find a t-shirt that belonged to a father, who passed away tragically.
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Monica Bugajski, April 22, 2013 4:05:37 PM

Cole Holzer, of Casselton, N.D., was just 4-years-old when his father died tragically while hanging Christmas lights. Ever since then, the little boy has been inseparable from what his mother Tanya calls the “Daddy Shirt,” a worn Nike shirt his father was wearing when he passed away.

Each night, Cole sprays his father’s cologne on the shirt and cuddles up with it to fall asleep. So when the little boy realized that he accidentally left the priceless possession on a Delta flight from Fargo to San Diego, he panicked.

Kelly Cruchet, a close family friend, immediately went to work to get the shirt back. She called the Delta 800 number, and the employee on the other end was so moved by the story that she called all over the San Diego airport to find it.

The plane had already departed for Minneapolis, so Cruchet spoke with Delta’s Lost & Found, while Vicki Katseanes, another helpful Delta employee, checked in with the cleaning crew.

Cruchet sent out numerous emails and posted the plea for help on Facebook, where Delta pilot Mike McLean spotted the request. He called Cruchet and said he would contact ground control to get in touch with the gate.

When Vicki called to say that the cleaning crew turned up nothing, the family thought all was lost, but then a little later, she called back saying Alfredo, a Delta ramp supervisor, wanted to confirm their names, flight, and rows because employees were going to start digging through the garbage.

30 minutes later, Vicki called back with the good news; they found the Daddy Shirt.

Delta spokesperson Michael Thomas called the incident “another fantastic example of Delta people going above and beyond for our customers and truly speaks to the culture of our dedicated employees.”

In her letter to the airline, Cruchet writes, “‘Delta allowed a daddy to still be there for his little boy’…even if he can’t be with him on earth. You all went so far above and beyond and the statement I made to Vicki goes to all of you: YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PEOPLE I HAVE NEVER MET!”

We couldn’t agree more.

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Monica Bugajski

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