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Delta CEO Gives Up Seat on Overbooked Flight to Frazzled Mom

By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 09:17 AM

Delta CEO Richard Anderson gave up his seat on an overbooked flight to Georgia earlier this month to a frazzled mother trying to get to Atlanta to pick up her diabetic daughter from summer camp.

Bad weather delayed Jessie Frank's June 13 flight from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta a handful of times and she was eventually placed on a stand-by list with seven people in front of her. Frank was trying to make it to Georgia to pick up her 12-year-old daughter from a camp for kids with Type 1 diabetes, and worried she would be late.

She says she was surprised to hear the gate agents call her name and ask her to board. A man she assumed was an off-duty pilot escorted her and her luggage to her seat, according to ABC News.  

The man was Anderson, the Delta CEO, who ended up riding in the jump seat.

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It wasn’t until the pilot announced that a "special guest" was riding on the flight that Frank realized the man who had helped her was Anderson.

"Suddenly I realized that 'familiar face' was not an off-duty pilot," Frank wrote in a Facebook post titled "An Open Letter to Delta CEO Richard Anderson." "It was you, the CEO of Delta, vaguely familiar from the safety video. It was you, Richard Anderson, who gave up your seat for me. It was you, the Delta CEO, who helped me with my bag. It was you, acting just like an ordinary Mr. Anderson, who showed me to my seat.

"You, Richard Anderson, the CEO of Delta, did all that for me, just an average, middle-aged, woman with, as far as anyone at Delta knew, no special reason to get home," Frank added. "But more importantly, it was all of your employees that day that did so much helping me to get home — and now I know why. Because Delta is led by you, Richard Anderson, a dedicated and inspiring leader who so clearly demonstrates, at his very core, that he leads by example, and does not set himself above all those who allow this airline to exist."

Many people took to Twitter to speak out about Anderson's compassionate act.

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