Having a sick child is one of the biggest fears for any parent. For Saskatchewan mom Katie Hoffman Fehr, her fears were realized when her son Jaxson was born last February.
In a lengthy Facebook post that has now gone viral, Hoffman Fehr details the scary moments following the birth of her son. Katie writes “…within minutes of his birth, it was obvious that something was wrong. He was struggling to breathe and his oxygen saturations were dropping. 6 hours later, Jaxson and I were in an ambulance to Regina, with my husband and 2 year old son not far behind.”
Katie’s son Jaxson was treated in the NICU for seven days, until doctors decided that he needed to be transported to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton for further treatment. With only enough room for one other adult in the ambulance and no set date for when the transfer would happen, Katie’s mom began making flight arrangements with WestJet, booking and rebooking Katie’s flight four times. The Canadian airline company, who had been made aware of the situation by Katie’s mother, dismissed all change fees.
In the post that has now been ‘liked’ almost 12,000 times since it went live on January 14, Katie writes that what followed was an example of a company going above and beyond. When Katie arrived at the airport in Regina, she broke down in tears when speaking with a WestJet agent at the ticket counter. The agent consoled Katie and made arrangements for another employee to meet Katie on the tarmac in Edmonton, escort her to baggage claim, and find her a cab to the airport. The employee also presented Katie with a voucher for the cab and shared his own personal story of his son’s time as a patient at Stollery Children’s Hospital, reassuring Katie that Jaxson was receiving the best care possible.
Katie’s family ended up staying at Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald House for three months while Jaxson made six trips to the operating room. Thanks to a partnership between the Ronald McDonald House and WestJet, Katie and her family eventually flew home to Saskatchewan at no cost. As Katie writes, “There is nothing more frightening than having a critically ill child, and your company went above and beyond to alleviate some of our stress. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts; we appreciate everything more than I can put into words.”
The inspiring post has close to 500 comments from well-wishers and people applauding WestJet’s actions. A PR rep from WestJet has also commented on the post, writing “Hi Katie, Thank you so much for taking the time to write us this heartfelt note. We are thrilled to know Jaxson was able to receive the care he required at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. So wonderful to hear he was able to become stronger as each day went by and to have you all there to cheer him on. We are pleased to hear you were met by compassionate and empathetic WestJetters during this journey. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of your experience.”
Bravo to WestJet!