Young Woman Desperate to Get Home. Can't Afford Ticket Until 2 Troopers Show up at Counter


When I was young, I had big dreams of going to school on the East Coast. But at decision time, the fear of not being able to get home in an emergency kept me in California.

Jordana Judson was in shock when she reached LaGuardia Airport in New York on Feb. 15. She couldn’t even manage packing a bag.

The 2012 graduate had learned her alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of Parkland, Florida, had become the latest site of a mass shooting as news broke on Twitter in real-time. The following day she learned a close family friend was one of the fallen victims.

The Pollack family is grieving the loss of their daughter, Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 killed in the Feb. 14 massacre. Meadow was Judson’s brother’s best friend; Judson knew she had to get home.

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“The Pollack family has always been like a second family to us after our father passed away when we were young. Meadow’s father took my brother in as one of his own, taking him on a number of fishing and camping trips over the years and teaching him to drive,” Judson told Love What Matters.

Judson lived in the neighboring town to Parkland, Coral Spring, Florida, but spent most of her youth in Parkland going to school and playing sports. She recalled having her favorite classes in the main building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

Clearly distraught at the airport, she caught the attention of two state troopers, Troy and Karasinski, who asked if she was okay. She explained her intention and was directed to the ticket counter.

Judson was met with bad news at the counter. A one-way ticket for immediate travel would cost upwards of $700.

Judson nor her mother (who was on the phone) could afford the ticket; it appeared Judson wouldn’t make it home. But next thing she knew, Troopers Troy and Karasinski were at her side.

“They must have come in to check on me. Trooper Karasinski asked where I work, most likely not just to get to know me, but to keep me distracted as I was still in tears and barely able to speak…

“I look up and the troopers, without hesitation, are opening their wallets and handing over their credit cards,” Judson recounted.

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Judson told them that the gesture was too much, even begged them not to purchase the outlandishly priced ticket. “It’s already done. Go be with your family,” was all they replied.

In times when headlines serve to remind us all that is wrong with society, it’s the individual acts from our community members that make all the difference.

Judson, who works in public relations, is no stranger to giving back to her community. She’s worked on several Parkland community efforts, taught dance to low-income children, and has worked with special-needs youths.

For Judson, the compassion of these strangers has left an impression she will take with her the rest of her life.

“I will never forget the troopers’ names, their faces, or this act of selflessness,” Judson wrote. “I will pay it forward in any way that I can in honor of Meadow and the 16 other lives taken too soon, in honor of Trooper Troy and Trooper Karasinski who stood by my side as I was alone on one of the worst days of my life, and in honor of my fellow MSD students who are working diligently, day in, day out to make a difference in our community and the world…

“This story and this tragic act has shaped who I am and who I want to be in the future and that is both a leader and an advocate for change.”

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