Flying is one of the most common modes of transportation in the United States today. However, despite the ease and efficiency of air travel, passing through airport security has become a chore that we have grown to despise.
Even with the stringent rules we’ve grown accustomed to, this Florida woman witnessed a fellow air traveler being forced to discard a mystery package.
There was something about the man’s unwillingness to leave behind the parcel that struck a chord within her. The woman grabbed the wrapped object after he was forced to toss it in the garbage, to find him and reconnect with him. Read more to find out what happens. It’s an unbelievable story.
Waiting in a queue
Ivelisse Hernandez, a Tampa, Florida native, was in line at the airport on her trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Rico Bankston, her boyfriend, had just taken her to the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport and was keeping her company while she stood in the security line.
It was just another day at the airport – until she noticed a man being forced to throw away a parcel he had planned to carry on board with him. Ivelisse’s heart ached for him, so she decided to act upon the situation. She had no idea how that decision would change her life.
Keeping the Line waiting
Rico had agreed to keep Ivelisse company while she waited in line for security, but what they both thought would be a brief wait turned into an extremely long wait.
The check appeared to be taking much longer than usual.
A man was attempting to persuade airport security to allow him to transport a parcel on the plane, and his argument was causing the rest of the line to move slowly.
Finally, security drew the man aside, and Ivelisse and Rico could hear how critical it was for him to be able to take the package with him.
Items that are restricted
Something in the luggage of the man in front of the queue was causing an issue with airport security. One of the goods he carried was restricted and hence not permitted on the trip.
The contents of the package were unknown, but the man pleaded with security to allow him to take it along with him.
What might be in the package that would cause a man to willingly engage in a confrontation with the TSA?
Pulling people aside at the airport and asking them to remove seemingly insignificant items from your bag may feel routine these days. It hasn’t always been like this.
Following the horrific events of Sept 11, 2001, the TSA has changed security protocols on all domestic flights.
Many items that people would consider benign have been banned as a result of much tougher security procedures introduced since then – and the package this passenger was attempting to bring aboard was a significant red flag for the TSA agents checking him.
Since 9/11, it’s been common to see airline passengers discarding inconspicuous objects like toothpaste tubes and nail files that they’d forgotten in their bags.
Even while the products may appear to be harmless at times, they are all prohibited for a reason.
However, while most of the objects people are asked to throw away have no sentimental worth, it appeared that whatever the man in front of Ivelisse and Rico was throwing away was very important to him.
Alternatives were being explored
The man in line sought to haggle with the TSA employees, asking if the item could be sent to the airport’s lost and found rather than being thrown away, but the agents flatly refused.
Despite the man’s obvious grief, they told him to throw the package in the nearest garbage can.
Although she had no idea what was in the package, Ivelisse felt she couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen.
The TSA employees remained unwavering despite the man’s heartfelt appeals.
Finally, the man took the item and flung it into the garbage, tears in his eyes. He proceeded to board his flight, visibly scared and upset.
The line had cleared, and it was now Ivelisse’s turn to walk through security, but before she said her goodbyes, she begged Rico to help her with something.
Help is always appreciated
Ivelise knew she couldn’t pick up the package from the garbage because whatever was inside would prevent her from boarding the plane – but Rico wasn’t flying anyplace.
Ivelise kissed and hugged Rico farewell before making an unexpected request.
She requested him to look inside the garbage bin where the man had dropped his parcel to see what had caused the uproar.
It was more than simply a pique of interest. Ivelise just wanted to help a man out.
While Ivelise couldn’t risk getting seen rummaging through the trash since she didn’t want to raise any TSA red flags, Rico didn’t have a flight to catch. He also didn’t have to go through security, so he could take whatever he discovered in the bin home without the fear of being stopped.
He smiled and waved to his girlfriend as he took the package from the bin and drove back to Tampa. When he eventually came home, what would he find inside?
An Uncomfortable Flight
Ivelise was nervous on her flight to Pittsburgh while Rico was driving back to Tampa.
She could not really stop thinking about how the TSA agents treated the man in the security line, and she wondered what he was carrying that deserved such treatment.
Ivelise turned on her phone and dialed Rico’s number as soon as the plane had landed.
Rico’s explanation of the contents of the gift convinced her that she needed to take action to put things right.
The Big reveal
When Rico opened the present, he had no idea what to anticipate.
What would he find if he went there? Perhaps a sentimental knife or another potentially harmful object?
He had to blink twice as he unwrapped the package to be sure what he was witnessing was the cause of the commotion he had seen at the airport. It was a snow globe. Yes, you read that right, a snow globe.
Rico couldn’t understand why a grown man would make such a fuss over such a small item. But, it became evident once he flipped it over.
A Special Request
Rico quickly recognized that the snow globe wasn’t your typical souvenir shop trinket. It featured two photographs: one of a young girl and the other of an elderly couple.
“Katie, we adore you. 1/25/16 Nana and Papa “At the base of the bauble, a love inscription was carved. When Rico and Ivelisse realized this was a gift for the man’s granddaughter at the airport, they knew they had to act quickly.
A Difficult Task Awaits Them
Ivelisse and Rico agreed that they didn’t want to throw the snow globe away as the TSA agents had. The contents of the parcel they had fished out of the garbage were significant to the man, and the Florida couple determined they would go to whatever length to find him and restore the globe to him. But saying it was easier than doing it.
Ivelisse and Rico were resourceful and determined, but they still had a long way to go to discover the man.
They had a picture of the man and his wife, but they didn’t have their name or address. The only thing they knew for sure was that the man had flown through St. Pete-Clearwater Airport that morning in February. They understood they’d have to think outside of the box if they wanted to find him.
The Hunt Begins
Ivelise’s first step in her search for the individual who owned the globe was to turn to social media for assistance.
Ivelise described her side of the tale in a Facebook post, making sure to include as many facts as she could.
There’s not much else she could do besides put out that effort. She didn’t have any other leads. Rico and Ivelise were still adamant about seeing this through and turning that man’s tears at the airport into tears of happiness.
Wish I was a Social Media Influencer.
Ivelise reminded herself to keep her expectations low when she composed her Facebook post. She had Facebook connections, but she wasn’t quite a social media influencer, to put it that way.
She and Rico were cautiously optimistic, but she had not anticipated her post going viral. She figured she’d reach maybe 200 individuals at most. What occurred next caught her completely off guard.
Just went Viral
Ivelise had hoped that Facebook would assist her in locating the man she was seeking, but she wasn’t holding her breath.
But as soon as she pushed the “publish” button. Her post was snatched from her grasp and swept away in the stormy currents of the internet.
Ivelise’s article, the photographs of the snow globe, and the engraved message were all reposted over 48,000 times in less than a week.
Even though her story was going viral on social media, would 48,000 shares be enough to help her find the person she was looking for?
Ivelise’s heart raced as the “share” count on her post continued to rise – but despite the tremendous exposure her post was getting, it wasn’t definite if it was getting her any closer to her objective.
Ivelise was becoming increasingly frustrated as her narrative became more widely known. What use were all those “shares” if they didn’t connect her with the man she was looking for?
Ivelise, on the other hand, had a breakthrough one day.She’d received a call from someone who wasn’t related to the person she was looking for, and they weren’t even a friend. Their relationship with the man was tenuous at best. But it would be sufficient to solve the case.
Ivelise was contacted by a representative from “Things Remembered,” a gift boutique.
And, while she had nothing to do with the snow globe in Ivelise’s hands, she knew what model it was. She was able to contact the company’s headquarters in Ohio, asking if they could trace the individual order using the engraving Ivelise had provided.
We got a Name
Things Remembered employee Linda Modry was able to go back to Ivelise with a name.
Katie, Linda’s five-year-old granddaughter, had requested the snow globe.
The gift was to be delivered by Katie’s father, Michael, who turned out to be the man Ivelise and Rico had spotted at security.
It was only a matter of getting in touch with him.
It’s a Full Circle
It took a retail clerk from the Midwest, the headquarters of an Ohio firm, the dedication of Ivelise and Rico from Florida, and an extensive social network of millions of people. But, they had finally pieced together the identities of the globe’s owners.
All they had to do now was connect the dots and complete the circle.
But there are a couple more surprises in store for this story.
It’s all right there in their backyard.
Ivelise and Rico finally had a name: Linda Modry. She also happened to live in their neighborhood, not too far from their house!
The Things Remembered staffer was able to provide Ivelise with Modry’s phone number after receiving clearance from headquarters.
The local press had picked up on the incredible story about this time and was keen to capture the moment on video. Despite her valiant efforts, Ivelise was unaware of the magnitude of her achievement.
Despite a tropical Florida rainstorm, Linda Modry strolled up to Ivelise Hernandez’s front door with a news crew in tow.
The two women were brought together by a little object – and a large act of generosity – but neither understood what to anticipate from the encounter.
Linda finally knocked and waited for the door to open.
Meant the World
Ivelise greeted Linda with a big smile as she opened the front door. Their bond was instant. The two women fell into each other’s arms and hugged.
Linda presented Ivelise with a bouquet, and both women sobbed. It was an emotional moment.
Ivelise was overjoyed, pleased that she had performed a good deed by assisting a stranger in need. But, as she would soon discover, she had accomplished far more.
Timing is everything.
It wasn’t only that having a snow globe engraved is an expensive process. It was also the fact that, in Linda’s opinion, the timing was fortunate.
Linda had expected the snow globe to arrive in time for her granddaughter Katie’s birthday, which was approaching quickly.
Katie’s birthday would have missed a crucial present from Grandma if Ivelise wasn’t around to save the gift.
A particular date was engraved on the snow globe: January 25th.
But, this was not Katie’s birthday – at least not exactly.
Katie’s parents had adopted her on that date, and it was the event of her joining the family. The globe was more than simply a loving gift from grandparents to granddaughter for Linda and her husband: it was a way to affirm their adopted grandchild’s place in their family.
Ivelise realized she wasn’t hearing just Michael as she listened to the sounds flowing through from Linda’s phone. Ivelise could hear Katie on the other end of the line, in Ohio.
There Is Only One Thing Left To Do
While Ivelise’s act was spectacular, she felt she had done what she had to.
She stated in an interview that her mother taught her to be kind to others and that she wished someone would have done the same for her if circumstances had been different.
Linda resolved to pack the globe more carefully and place it in her luggage rather than her carry-on bag now that she was aware of the security regulations. She was flying to Ohio to deliver the gift to her grandchild.
Linda described the experience by saying, “People are generally lovely, and she’s just outstanding.”
Ivelise returned to Facebook once everything was finished to thank the thousands of individuals who had helped her find Linda, Michael, and the rest of their family.
Ivelise shared her tale on her Facebook page “Love What Matters,” and she received a lot of positive feedback.
People were full of appreciation for Ivelise and were overjoyed to read the touching narrative.
Another one with great morals
Ivelise is expecting her first child two years after the snow globe incident. We can’t think of someone more deserving of being a parent, and we feel that if she shares the same principles that motivated her to assist Linda and Michael with their child, they’ll be OK in life. We’re also confident that she’ll teach her children not to bring snow globes on planes!
Regulations for Snow Globes
So why was Katie Modry’s snow globe denied entry to the airport in the first place?
Snow globes larger than tennis balls aren’t allowed to be carried on board by travelers due to security concerns.
Snow globes the size of tennis balls are permitted, but anything larger must be kept in the hold. But if you think that’s unusual, just wait till you hear what else is prohibited on planes!
When it comes to liquids, airport security is particularly tight, and even canned items containing liquid are limited to 100 milliliters.
Snow globes are actually prohibited since they contain liquid.
They aren’t the only products that have been banned for security concerns; the TSA has confiscated items like shoe insoles, fishing rods, and even tent pegs in the past.