When Billy Ojeda was identified with a uncommon muscular illness in 2016, his household made it their mission to get him one of the best care doable – starting years of frequent journey with Delta for varied therapies.
Up to now, Billy and oldsters Chris and Steffie, and siblings Ily and Abbey Rose, have taken greater than 600 flights with Delta from California to Florida. Every time, they mentioned, the pilots, flight attendants, gate and ticket brokers and reservations specialists have made the journey particular.
“Delta has been there for us in essentially the most profound and superb methods. They don’t have anything however kindness, generosity and compassion for us,” Chris mentioned not too long ago. “It makes an unbelievable distinction on such a troublesome journey.”
The Ojedas mentioned they’ve by no means missed or proven up late to any of Billy’s medical trials. Chris first shared the small print of their frequent travels and the lasting impression that Delta has made on his household in a private letter to “The Delta Household,” which he handed to a pilot following one in every of his flights in February. Learn the complete letter from Chris beneath.
On June 13, 2017, my household flew on Delta for my son’s Make-A-Want. Although my spouse and I had flown on Delta earlier than, it could be the primary time for our youngsters, Ily, Billy and Abby. Mixed collectively my household has taken over 560 Delta flights. When Billy was identified with a uncommon devastating terminal muscle losing illness, I used to be able to fly to the ends of the earth within the battle to save lots of his life. Realizing there could be numerous flights in our future, it made sense to pick a single airline. We selected Delta.
Trying again, it was one of many best choices we ever made on Billy’s Journey. Whereas I usually obtain surveys following a flight, the restricted scope wouldn’t be ample with respect to our experiences. I’ve had the pleasure of talking and interacting with numerous members of the Delta household: ticket brokers, gate brokers, pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and customer support brokers. I’m penning this letter to specific our gratitude in your workers, who’ve constantly delivered an absolute “Finest in Class” expertise. Your workforce members have at all times exceeded my highest expectations and in each out there alternative went the additional mile.
Since July 2017, Billy has participated in a number of medical trials. The continued participation in medical trials requires excellent attendance for every scheduled website go to. Lacking such visits means lacking important well being and security checks but in addition the chance of being disqualified and faraway from the medical trial itself. As to be anticipated with air journey, now we have skilled occasional delays and even cancellations ensuing from climate, know-how, an inadequate flight crew, mechanical failures, and different circumstances.
On a number of events our flight crew notified our connecting flight we had been delayed, however to count on us to make the flight. Usually our pilot or co-pilot has personally retrieved Billy’s wheelchair, thereby saving us beneficial time (that in any other case could be spent ready on the jet means). At any time when there have been cancellations or delays, the gate and ticket brokers have at all times taken care of us. Via the unbelievable efforts of your workers, now we have by no means missed nor been late to a single medical trial go to. Once you consider that this all occurred throughout an astounding variety of flights, a number of years and even a pandemic, that is completely extraordinary.
Touring with a toddler that has bodily disabilities is sort of difficult. Thankfully, we’re at all times provided assist with our carry-on baggage. This frees me as much as deal with folding Billy’s wheelchair and serving to him get to his seat. Many instances, regardless of reserving upfront, we’re seated aside. The gate brokers (typically even earlier than I make a request) do their highest to seat us collectively. There have been different instances when delays resulted in us not getting meals between connecting flights. I’ve by no means requested for greater than somewhat water and some snacks for my children, however as an alternative we’re at all times offered an abundance of choices for the entire household.
Beforehand once we flew out of SNA, the Pink Coat Victor Pacheco would accompany us via TSA and to our gate. Victor would ask us about Billy’s medical trial and the way we had been all doing. He was the actual deal, pure gold, and his firm was at all times the spotlight of the journey.
I keep in mind one flight turning into completely overwhelmed by the crushing weight of Billy’s prognosis. I needed to look down and away so he wouldn’t see my tears. I felt a mild contact on my shoulder. A gentle whisper adopted, “Are you okay?” Oh, how I attempted desperately to talk, however no phrases ever got here out. I shook my head to sign ‘No.’ The flight attendant Taffey Popp will need to have recognized I didn’t need to scare Billy by leaving him alone. Gesturing and talking softly she mentioned, ‘These toilets are empty, take as a lot time as you want. I’ll preserve your son firm.’” As I walked towards the toilets, I may hear Taffey and Billy speaking. I’ll always remember her compassion and thoughtfulness.
Our favourite journey would come as a whole shock. The night time earlier than our journey, a Delta worker referred to as asking if we may lengthen our layover in Atlanta. Having one way or the other discovered of our story, Delta needed to do one thing particular for us. It started with being chauffeured to Delta headquarters in two Porsche autos similar to VIP passengers.
Earlier than the tour, Captain Wealthy Terry and First Officer Travis Blunt offered Billy with official Delta captain wings and made him an honorary B747 Captain for the day. Billy has at all times had a ardour for planes and air journey, which made it much more particular. Afterward, we loved spending time with every division and studying about what they did. We even obtained to fly an actual Boeing 747 flight simulator; a fully superb expertise. Our return to the airport continued with VIP remedy as we awaited our flight within the luxuries of the Delta Sky Membership. Moreover, at our departure and arrival gates, our three kids had been offered with present baggage full of cool issues and loads of treats.
Earlier than we ever knew concerning the plans for such a special occasion, my spouse and I had been struggling fairly a bit. To place it into perspective, the journey was in the midst of December. When most households had been getting ready for Christmas, we might as an alternative be flying to Florida as a result of our son was within the combat for his life. A day that had been overshadowed with dread turned out to be one of the unbelievable and fantastic days of our lives. That day stays one in every of our most cherished household recollections. On the day of Billy’s prognosis, I may have by no means fathomed any silver linings on this journey. Because the fog of grief started to carry, I spotted that they had been there all alongside.
One of many best silver linings on my son’s journey will at all times be the fantastic folks I’ve encountered. That continues to be true with each journey we take with Delta Air Strains. I’m each gobsmacked and humbled by the kindness, consideration, and generosity of the Delta household. Sir Winston Churchill as soon as mentioned, “We make a dwelling by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
Thanks for giving so very a lot to my household on Billy’s Journey.