CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In this two-part series, Cleveland 19's Lydia Esparra describes her journey that involved moving 39 boxes of aid from Cleveland to Puerto Rico. In part one, Esparra describes the logistical challenges she encountered when trying to leave Cleveland with the relief, and who helped along the way.
An airline I booked with, which agreed to take my boxes to Puerto Rico, ended up reversing their decision leaving me with few options.
Fortunately, Allegiant Airlines stepped in to help.
They booked me a flight from Cleveland to Orlando Sanford, but it would mean a two-day delay.
Forty-eight hours is a long time when people are in need.
Allegiant checked every box for weight, and the TSA scanned them for hazardous materials.
My faith in humanity was restored with this kind group of people, people who also have family in Puerto Rico, like Juan.
Juan is from Guaynabo. "My family is doing fine...Adelante mi gente (forward my people)," he said.
Then angels out of nowhere helped too.
I had 39 boxes. They all made it through and some people even volunteered to check in some of my boxes, which was an overwhelming act of generosity.
The generosity of people wanting to help Puerto Rico.
The Bailey family from Erie were on my flight.
"When you are in a situation and you need help you really can't count on too many good people out there," said Frankie Bailey.
They were on their way to visit their critically injured son and brother in Tallahassee.
"We hope your family get the help they need," she added.
I boarded the plane feeling nervous, but was hopeful about the trip ahead.
Allegiant Airlines and Amaryllis were amazing.
I boarded the plane in tears knowing they cared as much as I did.
I landed in Orlando Sanford airport at around 10;15 p.m. in the evening.
I realized my boxes were there in Orlando; I was halfway there. I slowly start to smile.
Airport staff helped load them to a van from a local Comfort Inn where I spent the night.
I got four hours of sleep, then back to the airport.
I got up at 4 a.m. only to realize the same driver that picked me up was taking me back.
He spent the night at the hotel to make sure I got my boxes. Another Angel.
Early in the morning, back at the airport, we started all over again,
Allegiant had to do manual tags, and check the weight.
It was a nearly empty flight, but passenger Roberto Salas was flying as well to check on loved ones.
"Help make a little help over there and help the neighbors and family," he said.
We all board with apprehension. Next stop Puerto Rico.
Tune in to Cleveland 19 Wednesday night to catch part 2 of Lydia Esparra's journey to Puerto Rico.