‘A thank you letter to a stranger’

Obit_Leonard and TammyOn the morning of Thursday, January 7, 2016 , I was in the Durango Airport for a flight back to Texas. I had been in Durango because my son, Harrison McInnis, had been hospitalized from a ski accident. On Wednesday evening I received news that my beautiful husband, Leonard, had passed away in his sleep.

I arrived at the airport completely distraught. No one noticed me or the pain I was in. I walked across the terminal, struggling with my luggage, extra coat, a box of cheap hotel tissue and a plastic bag to put all of the used tissues in. I sat alone, next to people who did not notice me.

I went to the Food/Bar area to buy a bottle of water and that is where I met you. As I paid for my water, you looked at me and asked me if everything was alright. When I told you no, that my husband had passed away while I was gone the night before, you touched my hand and told me how sorry you were to hear that. There were over a hundred people in that terminal, but you were the first person who saw me. I walked back across the terminal and sat down alone and invisible again, wiping my eyes and blowing my nose.

Then someone was standing in front of me. It was you. You had made me a sandwich and brought me some chamomile tea. You said that I probably hadn’t taken care of myself that morning and that you wanted to make sure I ate something. Then you hugged me. You hugged me like you had known my husband and that you knew the loss I was feeling. I told you, thank you, and you hugged me again. Your kindness, compassion, and empathy are what got me home that day.

Once on the plane I was again invisible to everyone, the person in the seat next to me, across from me, and even the flight attendant. No one spoke to me. However, your simple act of love to a stranger made all the difference to me on such a difficult day.

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to make sure that I knew that someone cared about me, even though you did not know me. We need so many more people like you, who notice, and then do something about the situation. I hope that this letter reaches you. I am so honored to have met you. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.

Tammy Frondaria, Red River

UPDATE:  We have found her!! Her name is Cheryl Herrera and she is a precious woman! Now everyone can see how special she is and what a difference a small act of kindness can make for someone. Her compassion reminds us that it’s not just the thought that counts, but the actions you take that really matter! Thank you Cheryl! ~ Tammy

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