*Photo Courtesy of Christopher Cepeda*
It looked like any roller bag that was left behind at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Someone was probably in a rush, was preoccupied and left the piece of luggage at the checkpoint and headed for their gate.
But this was no ordinary roller bag. It belonged to the mother of the bride-to-be. Inside were two dresses neatly packed—the dress belonging to the mother and her daughter’s wedding dress.
But now the dresses were in Newark, N.J., and the wedding party was in Columbus, Ohio, for a wedding the following day.
Christopher Cepeda went online to help his soon-to-be-married sister, Narolin. What else is a younger brother to do? He looked up the TSA’s Lost and Found Office at Newark Liberty International Airport, submitted an online form and prayed.
Loletta Nathan-Gordon, an administrative assistant for TSA at Newark Liberty International Airport saw the email come in at 11:54 a.m. Six minutes later, she had the good news—she had called the TSA team in Terminal C and learned that the red roller bag was still there. She sent someone to pick it up and bring it to her office.
“As soon as I submitted the request, we lost hope of retrieving the luggage on time for the wedding” because the web site indicated that the response time was about five days, Cepeda said. “But thanks to Loletta, she called me immediately after the request and I was ecstatic to hear from TSA so quickly.”
Nathan-Gordon said that she “put myself in the bride’s shoes. I could only imagine how stressful that would have been for me if my mom would have left the dress behind. I would have freaked out.”
As soon as the red roller bag was delivered to her desk, Nathan-Gordon arranged for it to be sent overnight to be delivered early on Saturday. Cepeda picked up the tab for shipping.
The dresses arrived at the hotel at 8:55 a.m. “She literally saved my sister’s wedding,” Cepeda said. “If it wasn’t for her, everything would have been a disaster.”