Florida Woman Found an Unmarked Package at Airport, Forever Altering Her Life
There are many benefits to traveling by plane, but everyone can agree that it is never a fun experience. Queues are long and tiresome, the food inside airports is expensive, and security measures, especially in the U.S., are stringent. That’s why when this couple encountered a man’s desperate attempts to keep a mysterious package, and they tried to help however they could.
The man’s despair was so profound the couple couldn’t ignore his cries. The security guards had forced him to throw his bundle in the trash as a safety measure. Little did they know they would uncover something incredible when retrieving the mysterious package from the trash can—something that would send them on an equally amazing journey.
All Packed Up
Ivelise Hernandez, a Florida resident, had a flight to catch as part of her work routine. Her loving boyfriend, Rico Bankston, as usual, drove and accompanied her to the security line. It was just like any other day in the life of the couple.
They drove to St. Petersburg- Clearwater Airport. It was a typical, even sunny day for them as Ivelise bade her goodbyes. It was meant to be a short trip, but nevertheless, something seemed odd that day. The security at the airport seemed tighter than usual.
The airport security line was immense, luckily, they had foreseen this inconvenience, and they still had plenty of time left until their flight’s departure. Ivelise felt lucky she had at least company to keep her conversation because it would’ve been boring otherwise.
Ivelise and Rico are part of a generation that has become accustomed to long queues at airports in the United States. It’s part of the country’s modern-day culture to double-check if the items you carry are permitted or if they will end up in a trash can on the premises.
Not long after standing there, they noticed that a man was being shouted after being scanned. The man didn’t seem dangerous; if anything, he looked very scared and disheartened by the police. Clearly, he was carrying a restricted item, which is a common mistake.
Usually, people don’t make as much of a fuss when they have to discard their shampoo bottles or toothpaste tubes; clearly, there was something else going on here. Security made him throw away a package. This moment would change the couple’s lives forever.
The Transportation Security Authority, or TSA for short, has exceptionally strict rules. Ever since the awful terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, there has been a massive increase in security efforts in ports and airports in the United States and worldwide.
Airports worldwide have to face different security measures, making packing luggage an excruciating task. Passengers have to do a lot of research on their departing and landing destinations. This alarmed man had something that was clearly on the forbidden items list.
People will probably never get used to being dispossessed of their belongings at security checkpoints. Seemingly harmless articles such as shampoo, nail cutters, and perfume bottles are always the first to go straight to the bins.
The forbidden items tend to be liquids above a certain amount of milliliters, including water bottles, sharp objects such as scissors, some electronic devices, and, naturally, any flammable object. Usually, items can be easily repurchased inside the building, but that wasn’t the case for the man who had to discard his package.
To The Trash
If you’ve ever been to an airport, chances are you’ve had a situation where airport security throws one of your belongings into the trash. Of course, most incidents occur from travelers without bad intentions, but it’s a measure we all have to put up with since the terrorist attack in 2001.
In our story, the situation was tense. After any tumultuous event, security guards get overly vigilant to avoid any further altercations. This seems counterproductive for those who have to be in the queue waiting. The man begged the TSA agents to allow him to have his package sent by mail, but unfortunately, that service wasn’t available at that airport.
An Intensifying Situation
After an intense round of scolding from the airport security agents, the man had to relinquish his cryptic package, sad and miserable. Fellow passengers witnessed as the man threw the neatly packaged bundle in the nearest bin, just outside the security checkpoint.
The man was on the verge of tears and couldn’t believe he had to throw his package away. Ivelise and Rico noticed and knew they had to do something—this was no ordinary object, and they would figure out how to help this stranger.
The couple was still upset because of the event they had witnessed. That’s why it came as no surprise that when it was Ivelisse’s turn to bid her farewells to her boyfriend and go through the rigorous security checkpoint herself, she made an unusual request.
The loving girlfriend gave her partner a big hug and a kiss, and then she asked Rico if he could go through the bins and fetch the strange package that the man had left behind. She knew it couldn’t be dangerous because the TSA agents would’ve taken it if it had.
Dip In The Can
Rico took advantage of the fact that everyone was too distracted by the drama going on with the security checkpoint. He rummaged through the can to fetch the package the man had left behind. He didn’t have to go through security—he wasn’t going to board a plane.
Things thrown into trash cans eventually end up in a landfill, so it’s no crime to go through the garbage. He knew that his intentions were good. So, there he went, mystery package in hand. He left the airport and drove back home to Tampa.
An Unnerving Flight
Once on the plane, Ivelise couldn’t stop thinking about the unfair way the man was treated at the security checkpoint. Not only were the police unkind, but the spectators around them did nothing and said nothing to help. She thought about the seemingly unfair rules that airports have and their unwillingness to compromise.
It’s difficult taking a stand on this topic since security is an essential aspect of transportation, but there are also human and emotional elements to consider. Ivelise was thrilled to know that her boyfriend had successfully retrieved the package. Unfortunately, she would have to wait a few hours until she landed to know what came of it.
When Ivelise finally landed at her destination, she immediately contacted Rico, to which he replied that he had indeed retrieved the box and had it with him. He wondered if he should wait for her to come back to open it together.
They decided that the surprise couldn’t wait and that this item could be important to its owner, so time could be crucial in such a situation. The way the man was so distraught by losing this package—it must have had a great deal of sentimental value to him.
Unwrapping The Mystery
When Rico got home, he left the box on the kitchen table until he could get hold of his girlfriend to decide the next step. As soon as they got in contact, he knew he had to open the box. When he finally cut the box open, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
A snowglobe? That’s what caused such mayhem at the airport? He first thought it seemed ridiculous that a man was ridiculed in front of a crowd. The fact that he almost lost his flight because of an ordinary-looking snow globe was borderline ridiculous. But then he looked a little closer.
No Ordinary Snowglobe
This was not your average snow globe bought at any shop or market—this was something special. A personally commissioned piece of massive sentimental value. Because sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the price of an object is, but the emotional weight it has behind it.
In this case, the piece had a picture of a little girl on one side and her grandparents on the other, as well as an engraving that read, “We love you, Katie. Nana and Papa. January 25th, 2016” When it was wound up, it played the song “Greensleeves.”
A Difficult Task
It goes without saying that they wouldn’t dare throw away the piece as the TSA agents did. There was only one thing to do now: Find the snow globe’s owner. But this task seemed easy only in words—they had absolutely no idea how they would deliver this sentimental trinket to its rightful owners.
Finding someone you’ve only seen from afar for a few minutes in an airport is a daunting task—especially without any information to go on. Anyone else would have given up immediately, but Ivelise and Rico’s hearts were too big, and they couldn’t possibly have the story end there.
Against All Odds
There was absolutely no way the couple could find the globe’s owner. They had no idea of any detail of his life—they barely had a chance to see the man during an awful situation at the airport, and chances were, they wouldn’t even recognize him if they saw him again.
They had no last name, address, or any relevant information—only the fact that the man had flown from St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport to an unknown destination. But it was their duty as well-meaning people to give it back to the rightful owner. And so, they had an idea for the seemingly impossible pursuit.
Ivelise had begun a task in which she needed leads and help to figure out where to start. Only in the movies had she seen anyone find a stranger with no information, and luck was always on the character’s side. The main character always had a clue land on them from a mysterious figure or from a friend. Would she be as lucky?
The internet tends to be the most useful tool in our modern era for finding helpful information. Search engines, such as Google, make it easy. It’s also possible to connect with friends and communities of people with similar interests. So Ivelise took a leap of faith and hopped online.
A Leap Of Faith
Ivelise decided to take it to social media. She had seen successful lost-and-found stories before of people posting photos of their lost dogs or lost wallets and having them returned. It didn’t exactly seem like the same thing per se, but if there were even a chance of success, she would take it.
She wrote a Facebook post describing the shape, size, and pictures of the globe. She also described the engraving and attached pictures, recounting the story at the airport as carefully as possible. Social platforms such as Facebook can help people connect with communities in their area, as well as find people with common interests all around the world.
Even though Ivelise was determined to help this man, she realized there was a big problem—she didn’t have many contacts on Facebook, and all of them were very close to her. How would the owner notice her post if they very likely had no contacts in common?
The optimistic duo weren’t very sure about the next steps and left the internet to do its thing. They assumed that, given their limited network, they would get up to 200 shares. Nothing could have prepared them for what would happen next.
What Ivelise and Rico didn’t know—couldn’t have known—was that a tragic story, like the one they had shared, could take the internet by storm. People love reading about them and trying to do good deeds. Her post suddenly took off at a bewildering pace.
A week passed by. What began as a wish to a wishing well turned into a tidal wave of public notice—it had been shared 48,000 times or more. The post was so popular the couple was shocked it was even possible. But had the traction it gained been enough?
More and more comments, shares, and reposts were made. But even with all the fervor, the rightful owner of the snow globe had not come forward. Hopes were high, and Ivelise knew that they would succeed—she just didn’t know when. Suddenly, a message appeared.
She received a message from a woman who claimed she had information. This stranger wasn’t related and didn’t even know the man, so it was odd that she would come forward. It turned out that she was a worker from a gift shop called “Things Remembered.”
The person that came forward didn’t recognize the order—or the man from the airport—but she could identify that the snowglobe was very similar to the ones offered at Things Remembered. The customizable snowglobes were among the most popular items sold during the holiday season.
At this point, the case had become an internet sensation, and people wanted a happy ending. The eager worker had taken notice of the story. She sent the pictures to the company headquarters in Ohio, asking if it was possible to track the order.
A Successful Attempt
What seemed like an impossible task was finally coming to an end. Finally, the company traced back the order and disclosed a name: Linda Modry. It was wonderful that the sentimental gift would at last reach its rightful owner.
It was such a harrowing search, but it seemed like there was light at the end of the tunnel. Linda ordered the snowglobe because it was meant to be a gift for her five-year-old granddaughter, Katie. But because of the incident with airport security, Katie never received her gift.
A Distraught Father
But there was still a missing link. Who was the man at the airport? Who had been forced to discard the snow globe? That man was no less than Katie’s dad, Michael. He was supposed to deliver the gift when he landed in his hometown.
As we know, he wasn’t able to fulfill his mission. The TSA made him discard the gift, and Katie never received the beautiful token of her grandparents’ love. But luckily, Ivelise and Rico witnessed the mistreatment Michael had gone through. Because of their compassion, there was still hope.
The couple now had a name—they had to find Linda Modry. With the amount of support they had received so far, they knew it would not be impossible. They had come a long way already. The employee from Things Remembered continued to aid them in their mission.
Having access to the Things Remembered headquarters was very helpful, and the employee managed to get hold of valuable data. Soon enough, they had access to Linda’s phone number and address. When Ivelise and Rico received that information, they couldn’t believe it.
A Nearby Twist
After receiving support from near and far, it seemed as if the whole world knew about the snowglobe story—everyone except the Modry family. But the idea that this adventure would finally conclude in a happy ending filled Ivelise’s heart with joy.
When the couple checked the address the employee from Things Remembered had provided, they were beyond shocked. Linda Modry lived in the same area as they did! They were in complete disbelief and were eager to return that precious gift at last.
By this point, the local news had gotten hold of the inspiring story. Since the story had gone viral, they needed to be the first to report this saga’s conclusion. There were articles posted in newspapers, and the story even made it to television.
The news reporters contacted Ivelise and took on the story—they wanted to be there when the reunion finally occurred. Little did they know that they would be witness to a tender scene. Ivelise’s act of kindness had a profound effect on the Modry family.
A Memorable Meeting
A heavy thunderstorm struck Florida that day, but that was no obstacle for Linda Modry from knocking on Ivelise and Rico’s front door. As she approached the porch, Linda realized she wasn’t alone. News reporters were already anxiously waiting to record this meeting.
These two women could’ve walked past each other many times, unaware that, someday, a simple trinket would unite them forever. It had been quite a ride, and everyone was desperate to see the story drawn to a close.
An Emotional Squeeze
The moment Ivelise opened the door and saw Linda standing on her front porch, they embraced in a caring hug. While tears of joy ran down their cheeks, Linda gave Ivelise a beautiful bouquet of colorful flowers.
These two caring women were now connected by a piece of memorabilia and a story that they would remember for their entire lives. Following the embrace, Ivelise realized just how much her random act of kindness really meant.
A Broadcasted Surprise
The women didn’t even notice the new cameras that were recording their so-anticipated meeting—they were so carried away by the fact that they were finally able to close this chapter. Ivelise couldn’t possibly have expected to be more surprised that day.
The snowglobe was meant to be a birthday gift for Katie, Linda’s granddaughter, and the timing could not have been better, as the day was still to come up. If Rico hadn’t gone through that trash bin after witnessing Michael’s distasteful experience at the airport, Katie would never have received her special gift.
A Memorable Act
There was a lot of commotion, every puzzle piece was falling into place, and there would finally be closure to a problem that had, in just a few days, gained the momentum of thousands of spectators on the internet and following along on television.
Linda Modry was beyond grateful, but there was still one more person that had to get involved in the eventful celebration: Michael—the man that Ivelise and Rico decided to help, an unplanned act of altruism that came from the bottom of their hearts.
The Man From The Airport
With an entire audience eager to share the moment’s happiness, only one person could have gotten involved at this point to make the moment even more special. Linda dialed her son’s number and put it on speaker.
The grateful family couldn’t possibly express with words how much the trinket meant to them, but they tried their best when, between tears and smiles, they told Ivelise the story behind the heartfelt gift.
It turns out Michael had been on vacation visiting his parents in Tampa, Florida, for a few days. They had spent many days together, sightseeing and enjoying the beautiful weather that sunny Florida had to offer.
Before heading back to Ohio, Linda had the special snowglobe made on commission through her local Things Remembered store. Michael was supposed to deliver the gift before the TSA agents made him dump it in the airport trash can.
A Warm Welcome
It turns out the snow globe was meant to be an extra special gift. The engraved date wasn’t Katie’s birthdate. It was something even more special. January 25th was the date when Michael and his wife adopted Katie, and they wanted to commemorate the date.
The trinket would serve as a reminder that Katie now had a family that would cherish and love her forever. The Modry family wanted to be the best possible grandparents to their granddaughter. As Linda handed her the phone, Ivelise was clearly moved.
When Ivelise spoke into the phone her surprise was unmistakable. It wasn’t only Michael on the line—Katie was there as well! Ivelise couldn’t hold her tears back when she heard the five-year-old’s sweet voice speak to her.
When Linda told Katie that a lovely young lady named Ivelise had saved her package, they could hear the jumps of joy from the toddler on the other side of the line. It was a moment neither family would ever forget.
A Natural Course Of Action
It was incredible that the seemingly lost snow globe would finally make its way to its intended owner. Ivelise said it was the only course of action she could have taken—there was no way she would just stand there and watch an injustice take place—and she encouraged other people to do the same.
Linda agreed that Ivelise was a kind soul. She said, “People are good, but she’s exceptional.” And she was right. Very few people would have had the courage to partake in such an ordeal to help a stranger. She attributed her attitude to her mother, who taught her always to do good—especially when people are in need.
Social Media’s Response
After the news got out that Ivelise had finally accomplished her mission, she posted an update on Facebook, letting the world know how the story developed and that there would finally be closure. So many people had been taking part—by sharing, they all contributed to the success.
At this point, Ivelise knew the magic of the internet, and, as expected, it didn’t fail to deliver one last time. Hundreds of comments, full of positive feedback, brought the story back to light. People love a happy ending, and this was no ordinary anecdote.
Only two years after the event, Ivelise got some good news. She announced that she was pregnant! She revealed it through a social media post. Her network had expanded in the last two years, so she always had a lot of people following her funny posts and videos.
We’re certain that Ivelise will be an excellent mother, teaching her child the important values of honesty, perseverance, and standing up for what is right. She will also probably never try to gift her child a snow globe from a vacation abroad—unless she puts the gift in her checked luggage.
Snow Globe Regulations
Because of the viral story, some knowledgeable people on the internet brought up the fact that some snow globes can actually be brought on the plane, but only if they are under the size of a tennis ball. Who doesn’t love a draconian and arbitrary rule system?
According to the TSA website, it is possible to bring a snow globe on a plane, but only if it contains less than 3.4 ounces of liquid, which makes it smaller than a tennis ball. If you’re ever traveling with one of these, it might be something to keep in mind!
There seems to be a lot of debate about whether TSA regulations are too strict—Mostly because the rules over what objects can or can’t be admitted inside a plane seem to be arbitrary. Many of these items do have a logical explanation.
Liquids, for example, aren’t allowed on planes because of their transparent nature. It’s difficult to distinguish water from certain chemicals that look exactly like water and are practically indistinguishable, such as nitroglycerine.
Items containing liquids such as water bottles and snow globes are forbidden for their similarity to certain hazardous substances. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re carrying anything containing liquid on your way to your vacation, make sure it’s 100 ml or less.
There are some very strange objects that are also forbidden, such as hair dye, tents, fishing rods, canned goods, and shoe insoles! Even worse, cheese and sausages tend not to be allowed on planes. X-ray machines can’t distinguish them from bombs. Crazy right? Luckily, times are changing, and technology at airport security checkpoints is advancing quickly. Hopefully, we’ll see a change soon!