0 min left

Alaska Airlines Pilot Helps Homeless Woman Reunite With Her Family Over the Holidays

After reading about the plight of 76-year-old Virginia Cook in the newspaper, Captain Fred Ripp used his flight benefits to escort the homeless woman, who was living on the streets in Alaska, to her family in Arizona.

The holidays weren’t treating Virginia Cook very well earlier this year. After being released from a mental facility in Anchorage, Alaska, on the day before Thanksgiving, the 76-year-old found herself living on the streets despite the fact that she reportedly had a state-appointed guardian, money in the bank and family willing to take her in if she could only make her way to Tucson, Arizona. Lucky for Cook, her guardian angel, Alaska Airlines Captain Fredd Ripp, didn’t need to earn his wings. After reading about the senior citizen’s struggles in the Anchorage Daily News, Ripp realized that he was in a unique situation to help.

“We had been working for the last year remodeling our kitchen,” Ripp told Daily News columnist Charles Wohlforth who first brought Cook’s dire circumstances to light.  “I’ve been spending time thinking about the relative merits of granite and quartz counter tops. Then you read an article about this, and you realize you’ve been thinking about the wrong things.”

Although Cook’s family had scraped together enough funds to cover her flight from Anchorage to Tucson, loved ones were worried that their elderly relation with mental health struggles would have difficulty navigating the nearly 4,000-mile journey which involved multiple airports and connecting flights.

That’s where Captain Ripp was able to help out.

The professional aviator used his Alaska Airlines flight benefits to escort his newfound friend directly to her sister’s front door in Arizona where Cook’s daughter was waiting to greet her – just in time for Christmas. Ripp and his wife even helped Cook to pack her belongings in storage and reclaim some personal items and money from the state, before she headed off to warmer climates.

Fred Ripp and his wife Mary Ripp report that they may have gotten an even greater benefit from organizing the trip than Cook herself did.

“Time spent with Virginia has pulled me out of my usual winter funk and has brought me great joy,” Ripp wrote to Cook’s family. “I plan to start volunteering at Bean’s [a local coffeeshop for the homeless].This is shaping up to be a great Christmas!”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
kalagapp January 2, 2018

Awesome story. Thank you

redreeper January 1, 2018

Such good people. Thank you.