A 7-year-old boy lost his daddy and then lost his father’s shirt on a California Delta flight from Fargo to San Diego. The shirt was his most prized possession because it was the one his father wore when he fell to his death while trying to hang Christmas lights.
Cole Holzer’s dad died two years ago. The well-worn Nike shirt that goes with Cole everywhere was the one his dad, Bryan, was wearing when he died.
“Ever since he will lay out and spray his dad’s cologne on it and cuddle up with it and sing the daddy song to go to bed,” Tonya Holzer, Cole’s mom, told the station.
But in the rush to leave the plane when it landed, the shirt was left behind. The family didn’t realize it until they were driving away from the airport.
“I started to cry a little bit,” Cole told the station.
A letter written to the airline by a family friend who was instrumental in the recovery of the shirt describes how Delta employees went above and beyond to get Cole’s dad’s shirt back, even digging through the garbage to find it.
Kelly Cruchet’s letter details the phone call to the Delta 800 number and how that employee called all over the San Diego airport looking for the shirt. The plane the Holzers had been on had just left San Diego for Minneapolis. Eventually, Cruchet got in touch with Delta’s Lost & Found at the San Diego airport. Vicki Katseanes, another Delta employee, said she would check with the cleaning crew.
In the meantime, Cruchet sent out emails and posted on Facebook, hoping to find someone who would meet the plane in Minneapolis and see if the shirt was still onboard. Her request was seen by a Delta pilot, Mike McLean, who called her and said he would try to contact ground control and see if they could get in touch with the gate.
“I then got the heartbreaking call from Vicki that the cleaning crew never found it, I thanked her and we ended the call,” Cruchet’s 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!”
Thirty minutes later, the call came: They found the daddy shirt.
It’s a wonderful ending to a boy’s cry for help and the return of the best shirt in the world.