GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A flight attendant has stepped in to help a Grand Rapids woman who couldn't get a flight refund after her fiance died only days before their wedding.
Anuandi Hodges attended the funeral for her fiance Frederick Adams on the day they were supposed to be married in Las Vegas.
Allegiant Air had refused to refund the tickets and wanted her to pay a $50 fee each way to change the flight and another $50 to change the name on the ticket.
"They just worried about their seat empty. I lost a loved one," Hodges told 24 Hour News 8 in April. "All I could get from them is, 'Sorry for your loss, but this is our policy and this is the how it's going to go.'"
She had purchased a package deal that included a hotel room and was out about $1,000.
Target 8 called Allegiant and the airline still said no, citing the company's bottom line with a seat flying empty.
But in a surprising turn, a flight attendant stepped up to help Hodges.
Debra Petersen-Barber, a flight attendant for Allegiant Airlines in Las Vegas, is preparing for her first round of contract negotiations as the lead negotiator for Allegiant's flight attendant union. She googled 'Allegiant' to see what news stories were out there. She was outraged when she came across 24 Hour News 8's story about Hodges.
She forwarded the link to other flight attendants and says others were mortified and even embarrassed.
"We understand that companies have to make a profit, but there has to be some outreach of human compassion," Petersen-Barber said.
Petersen-Barber raised money from flight attendants from several airlines, including Allegiant, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and AirTran. On Tuesday, she flew from Las Vegas to Grand Rapids just to give Hodges a check from the memorial fund for $1,050.
"Oh my God, this is wonderful. I never knew something like this was going to happen, you know? I didn't expect it, you know?" Hodges said. "God brings people in your life and I want to thank Debra and everything she has done for me because this is a blessing. You know, God says all you do is trust and believe and then something like this happens."
Petersen-Barber believes other airlines would have shown more compassion and she hopes her actions prompt Allegiant to treat its passengers and employees better in the future.
Hodges is also starting a petition on Facebook to try to change Allegiant's bereavement policy.
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