When a woman and her boyfriend from Florida saw a passenger being forced to throw a mysterious package away, she knew they wouldn't be able to ignore it. The man was told to throw whatever this was into the trash. However, when the couple fished it out, they discovered something breathtaking.
Ready for Takeoff
When Ivelise Hernandez, a resident of Tampa, Florida, arrived at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport on a day like any other, she expected to have a regular airport trip. She was scheduled to board a flight to Pittsburg, and her boyfriend escorted her to the security line.
For the most part, her trip to the airport was as routine as could be, and nothing suggested that it wouldn't stay that way. That was until they took note of something that was happening further down the security line. A man was being forced to throw something away.
Nobody enjoys having to wait in the long security lines at the airport, but Rico remained patient while he waited with his girlfriend. The bag inspection should have been standard, but was taking much longer than it should have, and Ivelise was getting worried.
It soon turned out that the security guards had an issue with a mysterious package that he was trying to take through the metal detector. They soon pulled him aside, and by listening to their conversation, the couple was on the verge of discovering something.
What's the Hold-Up?
While Rico was waiting for Ivelise to be able to resume her process of moving through security, one man near the front was apparently having some problems with a package. Everyone could see that one of his items was restricted by the airline, and that security wouldn't let him take it.
He would not be allowed to cross security with the package. Nobody could tell what the package actually was, but whatever it was, the man was desperately trying to keep it. It was clear that he did not want to part with it, but what could be this important?
The world was forever changed by the events that took place on September 11th, and naturally, so was all travel in the US. The TSA, or the Transportation Security Authority of the United States, has incredible stern rules regarding what can and cannot be taken on a flight.
Local and international passengers are often shocked and frustrated when they find out what they can bring with them on a flight. Whatever was in this man's package was an extreme red flag for the TSA, and they weren't letting him get past with it.
Rules Are Rules
Since September 11th, passengers have grown used to seeing their fellow travelers sigh and roll their eyes at the strict rules regarding what is allowed to be taken on a flight. Many people are forced to throw away items that seem totally random, much to their frustration.
Even the most innocent items, like a snowglobe, can be banned because of the permissible rules of liquid ounces. Even though it's annoying, you can buy some of the items you tossed out when you pass security. According to this man, his package could not be replaced.
Things Get Intense
As the couple looked on, the man at the front of the line was getting even more stressed. He continued to try to bargain with the TSA agents, even asking if his package could be sent to the lost and found department of the airport in a desperate attempt to preserve it.
It was all for nothing, though. The TSA agent denied his request and told him to place his package in the closest trash bin, coldly. Ivelise and Rico were able to see that the man was extremely upset and on the verge of crying. She felt that she needed to do something.
Regardless of how much the man tried to bargain and plead with security, the TSA agents would not let him through - not with that package. With tears in his eyes, he took his precious package and tossed it into the trash bin, and Ivelise felt his sadness.
With an air of grief, the man continued to board his flight. Soon enough, it was Ivelise's turn to board the plane and say her goodbyes to her boyfriend. Just before she made her way through security, she had a strange request for Rico, but one she knew he'd carry out.
An Unusual Request
Ivelise and Rico were moved by the scene that had unfolded before their eyes and in front of everyone else at the airport. While she was getting ready to walk through security, she gave her boyfriend a kiss and a hug and left him with a strange task.
She wanted him to dig around in the trash bin near the security checkpoint for the package and figure out what it was. With that, she left him and boarded her plane to Pennsylvania. Both of them were wondering: what was Rico going to find?
An Odd Mission
Since Rico wasn't the one that needed to pass through security, he had a bit of an advantage with this request. If the package that the man threw away wasn't taken to be screened further, then he'd be able to take it out of the trash without risking being bothered by the TSA.
Whatever he found in the trash bin, he should be able to take it home without the TSA bugging him. He found the package, mysterious as ever, and took it from the bin. He left the airport and drove the package home with him to Tampa. He knew this wasn't a regular package.
On her way to Pittsburg, in the meantime, Ivelise couldn't stop thinking about the way that the TSA agents had treated the man. Her curiosity continued to grow, and she continued to wonder what could have been in the contraband package that made TSA force the man to throw it away.
The moment she landed safely, she took out her phone, called her boyfriend, Rico, and inquired about what he found inside the package. When he told her what she'd discovered, she knew right away what they needed to do with it and how to do it.
When Rico finally opened up the package, what he held in his hand was something that could have been seen as an ordinary object. It wasn't anything dangerous, certainly nothing that could put a flight at risk. To anyone, it just looked like a regular souvenir.
The package was a snow globe. That's it. But when Rico had a closer look, he tried to find anything that would make it dangerous or suspicious, but couldn't. What he did find, though, was what made the man get teary-eyed at the airport. When he turned it around, he fully understood its value.
The snow globe that Rico held in his hands was not one that you find in any souvenir shop. He could see that it had been made especially for the man - there were two pictures inside of it, one was of an elderly couple, and the other of a small girl. If wound, the globe would also play 'Greensleeves.'
There was also an engraving on the underside of the snow globe. The people that bought it had customized it with a message that said: 'We love you, Katie. Nana and Papa 1/25/16.' Ivelise and Rico were immediately in agreement with what they needed to do.
A New Mission
Ivelise eventually made her way back home from Pittsburgh to Florida. She and her boyfriend knew that they could not just discard the snow globe the same way that the TSA agents forced the man to. They needed to find the owner and return the globe to him.
Obviously, this simple item meant the world to the man who had to throw it away, and from the details on the snow globe, it was clear that it was important to his family as well. The couple now needed to do something that seemed impossible.
'How Are We Going to Do This?'
Regardless of how much they wanted to do a good deed, the odds were stacked against Ivelise and Rico. Finding the people that owned the snow globe was going to be extremely difficult. It seemed like they had no clues at all, and their task seemed impossible.
They had no names for the couple in the photo and also had no address for them. The only clue that they had was that the man who threw the globe away took a flight through the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport that day in February. They would need to think creatively.
The first step that Ivelise took in this mission was to look to social media. She made a post to her Facebook page with all the details they knew, including pictures of the snow globe and the engraving on it, hoping that her friends would spread the word.
Sadly, that was the only thing they could do at the time since they knew little about the item. They were determined nonetheless. Ivelise wanted nothing more than to turn that man's tears into tears of joy, but as Murphy's law goes, they soon ran into an issue.
More Reach Needed
Even while she was posting the pictures on Facebook, Ivelise knew that she didn't have a big network of friends. She had plenty of friends on the platform, but her friends' list was mostly average. She and her boyfriend were optimistic, but cautiously so.
They were hoping that their post would be shared a few times. Ivelise came up with a realistic estimate that she would get a maximum of 200 shares before people lost interest. She could not have been more wrong, and neither of them was prepared for what happened.
Things Go Viral
Ivelise and Rico had greatly underestimated how powerful the Internet can be. Her Facebook post, which was shared with nothing but good intentions, went viral faster than either of them could have imagined. The post flew around the net more quickly than they would have expected.
In just one week, the message engraved on the snow globe, the pictures inside, and the post that Ivelise and paired with them blew up. The post received over 48,000 reposts, but the US is enormous. Was the post going to be enough? Could they get the globe to the owner?
Leaps and Bounds
Ivelise's Facebook post continued to grow in popularity, but they were unsure how much it helped their cause. Finally, someone presented a message after the post flew around more. Unfortunately, the person with the message wasn't the man himself, nor was he a friend or relative.
They were only connected very remotely. This person didn't even know who the man they wanted was. The message was from an employee of Things Remembered, a gift shop. However, what she had to say made Ivelise's excitement grow tenfold.
The Facebook message that Ivelise received moved the search forward drastically, but in a direction that they weren't prepared for. The Things Remembered employee was not involved with this particular snow globe, but she had a photographic memory and was able to recall the model.
She was happy to take on the task of helping Ivelise. She sent a picture of the snow globe back to the company HQ, all the way in Ohio, to find out if they were able to give them the order. The result was incredible and moved everyone involved.
After the Things Remembered employee consulted with the company headquarters, she came up with a name: Linda Modry. Linda commissioned the snow globe as a gift for Katie, her five-year-old granddaughter. Katie never got the gift, though, thanks to the events that took place at the airport.
Michael, Katie's dad, planned to give her the gift, and it turns out that he was the man that the couple saw get harassed at the TSA security line. Katie was extremely disappointed when she heard the news from her dad and grandparents. All of that was about to change.
Things started to move faster and faster, and Rico and Ivelise grew more and more excited. Thanks to the employee's help, they now had a name and a direction to move in. Everything was ready, and all they needed to do now was get the globe to Katie.
Ivelise had progressed from knowing nothing about the snow globe owner to learning where it came from and who it belonged to. All this from a well-intentioned Facebook post. But this wasn't the end, and there was another twist around the corner.
Ivelise's small campaign on Facebook was more successful than she would have thought. What made it better was that the couple would not have to wait to deliver the snow glove to the owner. Linda lived in their area, and they got her number from the Things Remembered employee.
The local news stations had discovered the story by this time, and they were eager to capture this beautiful moment. Ivelise was also about to learn how significant her small act of kindness was, and it was going to warm her heart.
Even in the middle of a tropical rainstorm in Florida, with the news now involved, Linda went to the front door of Ivelise's home in Tampa. They could almost taste the excitement, and it seemed like everyone was equally eager. What feels better than doing a good deed?
Ivelise and Linda were two people joined to one another by one small item. A package that was tossed into the trash that meant so much to the owner also started to mean a lot to Ivelise. Linda knocked on the door, not knowing what to expect.
Ivelise opened the door for her guest, and her joy overflowed. The two fell into a warm embrace nearly instantly, both grinning, laughing, and crying. While Linda gifted Ivelise some flowers, she teared up and was overwhelmed with this stranger's kindness.
She could have just let the globe sit in the trash, taken her flight, and forgotten that anything happened. But she didn't, and she was so happy because of it. Now, she was going to learn how much that globe meant.
An Upcoming Birthday
Engraving a snow globe would be challenging, especially trying to replicate one that's that special. However, the timing of Ivelise's mission was perfect - Katie, Linda's granddaughter, was having her birthday soon, and Linda planned to give the globe to her as a gift.
If Ivelise had decided not to embark on this mission, if Rico didn't rifle through that bin at the airport, this little girl would have been disappointed on her special day. What's more, Ivelise was about to learn the meaning behind the date on the globe.
The snow globe was purchased with the most loving and pure intentions and had finally been returned to its owner. Linda, trying to hold back her tears while thanking Ivelise, knew she couldn't just be grateful and say thanks. She needed to show Ivelise how important this mission was to her.
Linda wanted Ivelise to hear it from another person, so that she could experience how much of an impact she had made on their lives. To do this, Linda took out her phone, made a call, and Ivelise waited while holding her breath.
Bringing the Family Together
The value of the abandoned airport package reached past Linda, who was the one that had originally bought it. Linda then called her son so that Ivelise could hear just how much they appreciated her act of kindness. Michael had seen the couple's intrigue at the airport.
When Ivelise and Rico had first seen Michael, he had just gotten back from a visit to his parents in Florida and made his way back to Ohio, his home. His parents had given him the package to take with him, and they told Ivelise that her timing could not have been more perfect.
A New Family Member
The date that appeared on the snow globe's underside, as it turns out, was not a birth date. However, it was equally as important. It marks the day that Katie was adopted and began her journey as a member of the family. For her grandparents, it wasn't a simple reminder of their love for their new granddaughter.
It was a gesture of affirmation. It was a sign of them solidifying Katie's place in the family, and reminding her that she would be loved for as long as they were all together and apart. Hand trembling, Linda held the phone to Ivelise.
Beaming With Joy
While Ivelise listened, she brimmed with joy, heard that Michael wasn't the only one on the other end of the phone call. Katie was there too, and her grandmother told her that she finally got her special present back. Needless to say, Katie was thrilled.
Now Ivelise was able to fully understand just how much her selflessness and kindness meant to the family. She was able to hear Katie's excitement as the little girl jumped up and down. Ivelise was overwhelmed with emotion. Who wouldn't be? She had something amazing to say.
Ivelise later said that her gesture of kindness was the only logical thing for her to do that day. She explained how her mother had taught her from a young age the importance of being kind to others. She said that if she were in a similar circumstance, she would have wanted others to do the same.
With her precious package in hand, Linda promised that she would pack it as carefully as possible in her checked luggage before she took it to her granddaughter in Ohio. Her description of the experience was, 'People are basically really good, and [Ivelise] is just exceptional.'
When Ivelise posted the story to Facebook and on the Love What Matters page, the feedback she received was incredible. People around the world admired her kindness and appreciated the impact that she had on the family. She made a small girl happy, and that was more than she could have wished for.
In addition to her post about wanting to find the globe's owner going viral, the comments on the reunion story post received some lovely messages of encouragement and appreciation. If this isn't proof that a little goes a long way, then what is?
An Incredible Gift
Only two years later, Ivelise is expecting her very own little one, and we couldn't think of anyone that deserves this blessing more. Anyone can see that she's going to be an incredible mother, and the values she'll teach will be some to envy.
Ivelise is also going to be a super cool and funny mom, if her hilarious viral Facebook shares are anything to go off of. We can also safely assume that she won't be planning to transport a snow globe through an airport anytime soon.
Snow Globe Regulations at Airports
That sentimental snow globe was originally prevented from passing through airport security because it was more significant than the size of a standard tennis ball. Crazy, right? You have to make sure that your snow globe is the size of a tennis ball, or smaller, to take it on a plane.
Lisa Farbstein of the Transportation Security Administration, snow globes that are smaller than tennis balls are permitted to be taken on planes. Any bigger and you'll have to toss it. It seems weird, but it gets stranger, and you won't believe what other wacky items are considered contraband.
Some Strange Contraband Restrictions
Airport security is extremely strict when it comes to liquids. Even canned foods need to be less than 100ml. This is the reason that snow globes are banned - they contain both gas and liquid. But there are some even stranger items that are prohibited, like fishing rods, shoe insoles, and sporting equipment.
Balloons filled with helium are also no-goes. Art supplies and hair dye, too, since they contain some unhealthy chemicals. With so many restrictions in place, it's amazing to see that this snowglobe was finally delivered to it's rightful owner, and touched so many people's hearts along the way.