Airline Denies Dad & Newborn from Boarding Flight. Nurse from Birth Becomes Their Angel


Traveling with children can be incredibly hard on parents. From making sure they are entertained during a flight to monitoring their energy levels so they don’t kick the seat back in front of them, there is a lot to watch out for.

When the child is an infant, airplane travel is even more difficult. Passengers nearby get annoyed if the baby starts crying. And all new parents can do is hope that the child sleeps through the flight.

One brand new dad from Ohio had even more trouble just trying to get his baby onboard the plane.

Rubin Swift flew to Phoenix, Arizona, from Cleveland, Ohio, to pick up his baby daughter Ru-Andria who he recently was granted custody of.

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Swift says he coordinated with Frontier Airlines to make sure he had all the necessary paperwork for his new daughter to be able to fly with him, which included a birth certificate and a note from the hospital clearing the baby for air travel.

However, when the new father got to the airport and reached the gate, the airline would not let him get on the plane.

“I asked for my money back,” Swift said. “They said it would take seven days to get your money back.”

When he reached out to Frontier again, they said that their policy is that a child has to be at least 7 days old to fly.

So, the father and his new daughter were stranded in Phoenix, without money to rent a car to drive back to Ohio or a hotel room to stay in.

That’s when their guardian angel stepped in. Swift had met a volunteer at Banner University Medical Center named Joy Ringhofer who helped take care of his daughter while they were there.

“I was rocking her when her father came in and we sort of made a connection right away,” Ringhofer said.

Out of options, Swift decided to call his new friend to see if she had any ideas on how to help.

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“I didn’t expect her to say, ‘I’m coming to get you and take you home.’ So I’m thinking, ‘She is going to drive me back to Cleveland’ but she actually brought me to her house and feeding me and making sure my baby is alright,” he recalled.

Ringhofer opened up her home to this stranger and his daughter while they waited for Ru-Andria to turn 7 days old.

“We’re two different colors and she opened up her door and it never was an issue,” Swift said. “My color was never an issue. She loves my baby. She held her. My baby was with her all night. Who does that?”

Swift now considers Ringhofer to be the grandmother of his daughter.

“He promised to come back and visit me, and let me see her again,” Ringhofer said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

The father and daughter duo left Phoenix on Tuesday after Frontier rebooked their flight and waved any charges associated with the travel change.

This woman’s love and kindness toward a stranger warms our hearts and reminds us to reach out to lend a helping hand.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith