Feel-Good Friday: A Tampa Teacher Trapped at the Airport Helps Others Find Their Luggage

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

This story is a few weeks old, but worthy of a Feast of the Epiphany/Twelfth Night Feel-Good Friday. After all, Tampa, Florida, teacher Brittany Loubier-Vervisch definitely had an epiphany that drove her to help others. Over Christmas weekend, Loubier-Vervisch and her husband found themselves stranded at the airport. If you guessed that they were trying to fly Southwest, you guessed correctly!


Loubier-Vervisch spoke with Business Insider about her experience.

Loubier-Vervisch and her husband had already faced some holiday travel woes: They had canceled their Christmas Eve flight to visit family in Ohio because of the weather.

The couple then made a last-minute decision to fly to Tucson, connecting through Denver, on Boxing Day.

“We had no idea that Southwest was going to cancel thousands of flights,” Loubier-Vervisch told Insider, adding that after a few delays, they realized they weren’t going to make it to Tucson on Monday, so they canceled that flight, too.

While her husband stayed put in Southwest Airlines’ customer-service line at the airport to figure out how to get their luggage back, Loubier-Vervisch — frustrated with the long wait — decided to head to Southwest and Spirit Airlines’ joint baggage claim to look for their bags herself.

Her own frustration fueled her act of kindness to others. When Loubier-Vervisch found the baggage claim, she told Business Insider that she’d “never seen anything like it.” Loubier-Vervisch found herself looking at a sea of bags from flights all across the country.

That’s where that epiphany kicked in. Loubier-Vervisch realized that she could probably reunite some travelers with their bags by texting the number listed on the luggage tag, while she also looked for her own.


“I was circling through the baggage claims as stuff was coming off the line and being piled up and if there was a tag on it with a number, I sent a text,” Loubier-Vervisch said.

Loubier-Vervisch said she sent at least 50 text messages on Monday while searching for her own bag.

One person took to Twitter to express their appreciation:

Other people at the airport who had been waiting for their bags were thankful that Loubier-Vervisch took the initiative. Some mistook her for an employee.

“It was an inconvenience for us,” Loubier-Vervisch admitted. “But for people that had no idea where in the United States their luggage could possibly be, I was like, ‘Well if I at least tell them it’s in Tampa, they know it’s not still where they were, where they were going or you know, they can figure out where it is and at least know where to look for it.'”

I have never experienced this. In all my years of travel, I have had baggage delayed, but never outright lost. So, Loubier-Vervisch’s quick thinking, even in the midst of her own frustration, was a huge help to others who had no clue what had become of their luggage.

Loubier-Vervisch and her husband eventually found their bags around 4:30 p.m. — four hours after canceling their flight. But it was time well spent, she said.

“I’m a teacher, I help people, that’s what I do,” Loubier-Vervisch told Insider. “Anybody can do something. What I did was very small, but if everybody does something, it can have a ripple effect.”


Booker T. Washington said in Up From Slavery,

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

Loubier-Vervisch not only did “the most” that day, but for her to honestly say that it was time well spent helping people she did not know and who could never repay her, speaks volumes about her character and perspective on life.

She’s someone I would want teaching my kids. That’s a ripple effect that matters.


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