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We've all grown used to the extremely prohibitive rules of what is and is not allowed on flights in today's world of flying. But when a Florida woman saw a fellow passenger being forced to part with a mysterious package, something struck a chord with her and what she did later unraveled into something incredible.
When Ivelise Hernandez arrived at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport for a routine trip, she wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. Her boyfriend Rico Bankston, who had driven her there, was accompanying her in the security line. Everything appeared calm when suddenly they noticed a man was being forced to throw away a package.
The man was trying to take a wrapped package through the metal detector, but one of the items inside was considered restricted. He was arguing with the security guards, trying desperately not to be parted from it. But they just coldly told him to toss the package into the trash. The man was very distraught, almost in tears and Ivelise Felt Something Had To Be Done.
No matter how much the man pleaded with them, the TSA agents would not budge. His eyes welling up, he took the package and glumly cast it into the trash. With great sadness, the man went to board his flight. Finally, it was Ivelise's turn to go through the security check and say goodbye to her boyfriend. She turned to Rico and requested something highly unusual of him.
Ivelise told Rico to go rifle around through the trash bin and figure out what had been in the package. She then went and boarded her flight. All the way, Ivelise felt shaken by the scene. She was burning with curiosity to discover what had been the suspicious contraband that he had to throw away with no exception. She knew this was no ordinary package.
Rico, meanwhile, retrieved the mysterious parcel, then drove it home. When he unwrapped the package though, Rico only found an ordinary snow globe. It wasn't anything that appeared so sketchy as to spark a huge debate. But when Rico looked more closely at the snow globe, he instantly understood just how valuable it really was.
It was a specially commissioned snow globe. Inside it were two photographs, one of a little girl, and one of an elderly couple. Underneath the snow globe was an engraving, reading: "We love you Katie. Nana and Papa 1/25/16". After that, Rico and Ivelise knew immediately what they had to do with the package.
When Ivelise came back home, she and Rico decided to track down the owner. This special package had clearly meant a lot to the man who had been forced to throw it away, and to his family. Ivelise now had a mystery ahead to solve. But it seemed nearly impossible. How could they return something like this to someone with almost no clues whatsoever?
Ivelise wrote a post on her Facebook with as many details as possible, including pictures of the snow globe and its engraving, hoping her friends would help her pay it forward. It seemed to be the only thing the couple could do. Still, they were determined. Ivelise said she wanted to turn that man's initial tears into tears of joy. But there was a problem.
Even as she wrote her post, Ivelise was aware that she didn't have a very large Facebook network. She hoped that the post might get shared a few times. Thinking realistically though, the couple figured it would get capped at 200 shares maximum. But they were both dead wrong. What was about to happen next was totally beyond their imagination.
The couple had vastly underestimated the magic of the Internet. Ivelise's well-intentioned post went amazingly viral. The post was rocketing through cyberspace at a dizzying pace and had now taken on a life of its own. Within just a week, it had been reposted more than 48,000 times! Still, it was a large country. Would that help the abandoned item return to its owner?
After a sea of shares, someone came forward with a message. It was an employee from a gift shop called Things Remembered. The employee had nothing to do with the snow globe, but she remembered that model. She sent the image back to company headquarters to see if they could pinpoint that specific order. What was about to happen next was nothing short of extraordinary.
The company headquarters located a name: Linda Modry. Linda had ordered the snow globe especially for her five-year-old granddaughter, Katie. Katie's dad, Michael, was the man that Ivelise and Rico had seen at the airport. Ivelise and Rico were terribly excited and now they could close the cycle of kindness they had begun. But that wasn't the last fantastic twist.
The shopkeeper from Things Remembered gave Ivelise the customer's number. Linda Modry lived in their area! By this time, local news had caught wind of the story, and all were excited to capture the incredible moment of reunion. And Ivelise was about to learn how significant her act of righteous kindness was.
In the middle of a tropical Florida rainstorm, Linda came to Ivelise's front door. The excitement was practically palpable. Nothing could feel quite as good as fulfilling a good deed. They were two women, connected by a simple object. The discarded package had meant a lot to its owner and its rescuer. Unsure of what to expect, Linda knocked on the door.
Brimming with joy, Ivelise opened the door. Almost instantly, the two fell into each other's arms. As Linda offered Ivelise a lovely bouquet, Ivelise teared up, completely feeling the purest joy to fulfill an act of kindness and to solve the mystery of the discarded package finally. She was also about to learn that the snow globe meant so much more than she could have expected.
The birthday of Linda's granddaughter's was coming up. Getting a new snow globe engraved would be hard and timing. If Ivelise had not spoken up, and if Rico had not sifted through the airport trash bin, there would have been a lingering sense of disappointment at the little girl's birthday. Fortunately, the special snow globe was finally back to its owner in good time.
Choking back emotions herself as she thanked Ivelise, Linda knew that her gratitude alone wasn't enough to truly illustrate to the woman just how important her act of kindness had been. So Linda called her son, Michael. And Ivelise was about to learn the truth behind the date on the snow globe.
The date underneath the snow globe, January 25th, was not a birth date, but the date of Katie's adoption. For Linda and her husband, the precious gift was not just a reminder of their love from grandparents to granddaughter, but a gesture of them affirming their adopted grandchild's place in her new family and reminding her that each of them loved having her in their lives.
Linda held her phone out to the trembling Ivelise. Beaming with happiness, Ivelise heard that little Katie herself had joined in on the conversation! Nothing could have better showed Ivelise how much her act of selflessness had meant. They could hear Katie jumping up and down with joy on the other end of the line. It was a lot for Ivelise to process.
Linda summarized the experience by describing Ivelise: "People are basically really good, and she's just exceptional." For Ivelise, her act was natural and logical. She just thought that if she had been in the same circumstances, she hoped someone would do the same. It just proves that a little goes a long way to brighten up people's lives. All it takes is one simple act of kindness.