Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Andrea Romano
May 31, 2018

Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham helped out a fellow passenger who nearly missed her flight on Wednesday night.

Delilah Cassidy, who detailed her experience on Twitter, was attempting to board her American Airlines flight in Los Angeles when she discovered her fare did not include taking a carry-on with her on the flight. Cassidy had purchased a basic economy fare, which is a recent trend for airlines to slash prices but tack on last-minute fees for travelers who mistakenly assume they had the same perks.

Scrambling to find a solution, Cassidy attempted to combine all her belongings into one bag, but was told at the gate that it was too big and would be charged $50 to check it.

A $50 fee, while aggravating, isn’t a terrible price to pay, and Cassidy was willing to hand it over in order to get to her flight on time. However, baggage fees are only handled by credit or debit card, and not with cash. Since Cassidy was traveling from Europe, her cards were being declined until she was able to notify her bank that she had returned to the U.S.

Cassidy said she was “pleading” with the gate agent when a man walked up to the counter, asked how much the fee was and then paid it with his own card. Cassidy didn’t even realize it was Gresham until she got on the flight.

“A stewardess came by and said she and the rest of the crew couldn’t believe his kindness...She then mentioned that he was a professional football player but did not know his name,” Cassidy told Travel + Leisure in an email. “I am a sports reporter so I am very familiar with the Cardinals roster. I went position by position in my head. When I got to tight end, it clicked.”

On the flight, she tried to pay him back, but he refused to let her do so. “He just shook me off and told me to pay it forward,” she wrote on Twitter. He also took a selfie with her once they landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

It’s easy to mix up what you can or can’t bring with you on a plane when you’re booking with basic economy fares, and not everyone gets such a stroke of luck.

“I am glad it turned out to [be] him because it has provided a platform to inspire others to do the same. It sure has inspired me. But, he didn’t tell me his name. He never asked for recognition. It was amazing and I hope that others will help someone in need when they see it,” said Cassidy.

Good thing there are genuinely nice people like Gresham to step in when help is needed.

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