Delta is making headlines this week not for late flights or disgruntled passengers, but for going above and beyond to find a little boy's shirt that belonged to his deceased father.
Cole Holzer, 7, brought his father's shirt everywhere. He slept with it at night, sprayed it with his dad's cologne and sang the "daddy song." It was the shirt his father wore when he died hanging Christmas lights two years ago.
When he and his mother went on vacation to San Diego, Calif. from Fargo, N.D., he brought the shirt with him.
But they were in a rush to leave the plane and left the shirt behind. They only realized it when they were driving away from the airport.
"I started to cry a little bit," Cole said.
A family friend who helped get the shirt back wrote a detailed letter explaining how Delta went above and beyond to find it. At one point, they even dug through garbage.
Kelly Cruchet's letter tells of the phone call she made to Delta, where an employee called all over the San Diego airport asking if anyone has seen the shirt.
The plane the family was on had left San Diego for Minneapolis.
Eventually, Cruchet was able to get in touch with the lost and found department in San Diego. Meanwhile, another Delta employee was checking with the cleaning crew.
Cruchet began sending emails and posting on Facebook, asking anyone with connections to Delta to help them find the shirt. Soon, Delta pilot Mike McLean saw the post and called her. He said he would try to contact ground patrol and see if they could get in touch with the gate the plane was arriving at in Minneapolis.
"I then got the heartbreaking call from Vicki (a Delta employee) that the cleaning crew never found it, I thanked her and we ended the call," her letter said. "A short time later she called back and said she had been in contact with Alfredo, a Delta ramp supervisor. They wanted to confirm their names to confirm their flight and rows and said they were going to start looking through garbage!"
Within thirty minutes, she called back and said they found the shirt.
Cole and his mother returned to the airport and met Vicki to obtain the shirt.
"They cried all the way back to the airport," the letter said. They were finally able to start their vacation.
Delta spokesperson Michael Thomas said, "Efforts made to reunite this very special shirt with this customer and his family is another fantastic example of Delta people going above and beyond for our customers and truly speaks to the culture of our dedicated employees."
Cruchet said the Delta employees involved in finding the shirt are her "favorite people [she] has never met."
"We all miss Bryan so much, and I so wish Cole had his daddy here to watch him play flag football and baseball and basketball and wrestling - but we all know he is watching them from up above (and as Cole tells my son and all his buddies, 'my dad plays basketball on team heaven!'). I want to thank all involved today for what they did for this little boy they had never met," Cruchet wrote in her letter. "As a friend stated, 'Delta allowed a daddy to still be there for his little boy.'"