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Southwest Airlines worker delivers Pittsburgh flyer's missing cancer medication

Matthew Santoni
| Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, 12:42 p.m.
Stacy Hurt of South Fayette, wearing a shirt from the bag an airline employee personally returned to her before chemotherapy.
Tribune-Review
Stacy Hurt of South Fayette, wearing a shirt from the bag an airline employee personally returned to her before chemotherapy.

A misplaced suitcase turned into an inspiring story and a bit of good PR for Southwest Airlines late last month when an employee personally returned the baggage and the cancer medication it contained to its owner in South Fayette.

In a post Southwest shared to their official Facebook page Monday night, Stacy Hurt wrote that she'd been separated from her checked baggage when flying home from Nashville on July 23 because she grabbed an earlier flight and maintenance issues canceled the later flight her luggage was coming on.

The problem was, her bag contained medication and personal items that Hurt, a colon cancer survivor and personal healthcare advocacy consultant , needed for her monthly chemotherapy appointment the next day. Hurt called Southwest at Pittsburgh International Airport, eventually connecting with a representative she knew only as Sarah.

"I got very emotional (on the phone) and said I had items in that bag I needed for chemotherapy," Hurt, 46, said in an interview with the Trib. "She said, 'I will find that luggage for you and I will find a way to get it to your house.'"

None of the company's couriers were available by the time the bag arrived at Pittsburgh early Monday morning, so Sarah personally drove it more than 20 miles to Hurt's door in South Fayette, leaving a message notifying her of the dropoff at about 3 a.m., Hurt said.

"Myself & my Southwest family are thinking of you & wishing you all the best. Kick that cancer's BUTT!" read a note Hurt said the employee left in her luggage on a piece of tissue paper.

Hurt still teared up recounting the story on the phone weeks later, calling the Southwest employee a "compassionate, selfless human being" for personally taking charge of her case.

"I don't know if she has a connection to cancer herself," she said. "I haven't been able to talk to her in person, hug her and thank her."

Hurt said the medications in her luggage could have been replaced, but among the other items she wanted for her 51st chemo session was a t-shirt she'd just gotten at the colon cancer conference she'd attended in Nashville that read "Where there is no struggle, there is no strength." Reunited with her belongings, she proudly posted a picture of herself in the shirt the next day.

Traveling, late nights, a cold, and chemo don't mix #toughness #stillsmiling

A post shared by Stacy Hurt (@stacy_hurt) on

Representatives for Southwest got Hurt's permission to share her Facebook post and mailed her a package of "swag," but could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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