My original post was in Swedish but many have asked what I wrote. So here goes. Very rapidly translated and not proofread but hopefully a bit better than Google translate…
For quite some time I have followed my friend Susan’s preparations for the big trip to Korea. She hasn’t been there for a very long time, way too long. Susan has her family in Korea but is a single mom with three kids in Sweden and there just is not money to travel. Susan’s parents have met Susan’s kids once. But on Sunday Susan’s brother is getting married and Susan’s parents had paid the airfare for Susan and her kids. They were going to go to Korea!
I have followed every step of the preparations on Facebook. I read about the passport applications. I read the posts wondering if anyone could lend them suitcases. I have followed the packing and even been asked what she forgot. I even followed the repacking at 4 am the night before departure.
And finally, Monday and day of departure. And nothing went as it was supposed to. The airline Finnair did not let Susan and her children board the plane to Seoul in Helsinki, Finland – even though they had just flown them from Stockholm, Sweden. Due to the fact that one of the children has a nut allergy.
I followed the drama through Facebook Monday afternoon. Monday night Finnair decided to send Susan and the kids home and while my youngest daughter was at dance class I went out for a powerwalk. My mind couldn’t stop. How was this even happening? How could Finnair reject the family because of a nutallergy? I have been on lots of flights where they have announced they won’t serve nuts due to allergies. Asked people not to open nuts. It’s something that happens every day, all the time. Could they really be allowed to do this? (No, it’s discrimination. Exchange nut allergy for wheelchair). My steps went faster and faster. I could not let go. It was a cold night but may brain was overheated. I made up my mind. Finnair may have put my friend and her kids back on a flight to Stockholm but NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER!
I went home and wrote about it. That’s how I roll. When I am angry, I write. (Well, sometimes I yell but in this case writing worked better because customer service at Finnair was closed). I wrote it on Facebook and people started sharing. People were outraged and the sharing wouldn’t stop.
The next morning I felt that if we are going to get Susan and the kids to Korea in time for the wedding on Sunday, we had to get busy. So I started a crowfunding. To raise money for new tickets for Susan and the kids. I was going to get her to her brother’ wedding. Period. And I could not believe how generous people were. They shared my event and deposited money into my account. I am overwhelmed by the good in people. People are genuinely good. They have felt for Susan and her children and opened up. From 50 sek to 1000 sek.
And finally! Late Tuesday afternoon Finnair decided to rebook Susan and the kids. Power of Internet, power of customers. But all thanks to my friend Pia who owns Lifestyle Travel AB and called Finnair. Called bosses. If Pia hadn’t called, I am not sure Finnair had changed their minds. And also, thanks to my friend Angela (who makes the best ice cream) called the press. All of them. By the time the press got back to us, Finnair had already changed their minds but one of the biggest newspapers in Sweden was on it. And thanks to my friend Rita Axelsson Florio at MNML Agency contacted the organization Unga Allergiker (working with young people and allergies) and they sent out a press release about the whole thing. .
And – thanks to Internet we could reach out. I am so grateful for everyone’s efforts yesterday! So overwhelmed, touched and plain grateful. People rock!
Fiinally. I have a greeting for Finnair:
Once upon a time you flew me on the trip of my life. I was 16, going to the States to stay there as an exchangestudent. I was nervous and excited. Ten months later you flew me back. I was older, wiser and fluent in English. On the way home I woke up over Norway, saw the fiords and the sunrise. We flew over Sweden and landed in Helsinki. The city of my roots. I took a shower at the airport and prepared to come back home again.
I am so glad you decided to do the right thing. Thank you. Take good care of my friend and her children today. Let this be the trip of their lives. They don’t get out much.