This new dad found a surprising act of kindness where he least expected it.

Being a new parent is hard. Being a new parent trying to fly with your newborn can be next-level stressful. But being a new parent in a foreign state who is just trying to get your kid home is one of the most overwhelming things we can think of. Especially when you don’t have a car, and the airline tells you that you can’t board.

Trying to Get Home

That was the situation Rubin Swift faced in 2018 when he arrived in Phoenix to pick up his newborn daughter, Ru-Andria.

According to CBS News, the new dad had just gotten custody of Ru-Andria and was preparing to fly home to Cleveland with her. Except when he arrived at Frontier Airlines, he was told they couldn’t fly together.

As per the airline’s policy, babies under seven days old cannot fly. And even though Swift had a note from the hospital clearing Ru-Andria for takeoff, she was grounded — Frontier didn’t want to risk letting a four-day-old baby board.

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That gave Swift three days with his new daughter and nowhere to go. So he called the only person he could think of in the area, a woman named Joy Ringhofer, who volunteered at the Banner University Medical Center where Ru-Andria was born.

“I was rocking her when her father came in, and we sort of made a connection right away,” Ringhofer told the publication.

An Act of Kindness

Swift called Ringhofer for help as soon as he left the airport. Surprisingly, she revealed she was coming to get him and Ru-Andria right away.

“I’m thinking, ‘She is going to drive me back to Cleveland?’ But she actually brought me to her house and [is] feeding me and making sure my baby is all right,” Swift revealed.

More than that, Ringhofer ensured the family had a place to stay and food to eat until they were able to fly home.

“I had such a strong feeling that I needed to do this for him,” Ringhofer explained. “I know he was a kind and safe man to have in my home, and he has been a perfect gentleman.”

Three days later, Swift flew home but promised to return and visit. After all, this kind woman opened up her home to him and his baby without even really knowing them. It touched his heart and gave him comfort to know that humanity is, indeed, still good.

“We’re two different colors and she opened up her door, and it never was an issue. My color was never an issue,” Swift said. “She loves my baby… My baby was with her all night. She stayed up with her. Who does that?” he continued.

“She’s fed me, she took care of me. She’s the grandmother to my child now. She looked after me. I’m grateful.”

Following Your Gut

Who knows where Swift and the baby would have wound up for those few days if Ringhofer hadn’t offered up her home.

Perhaps they would have found a hotel or rented a car and started the 30-hour journey back to Cleveland. Hopefully, it would have worked out. However, thanks to the kindness of a stranger who followed her instinct, the situation was so much better than anyone could have hoped.

It’s a great example that, sometimes, you really should follow your gut instinct when it comes to helping others. That could mean reaching out if you feel like a friend or family member feels “off,” or it could mean giving money to a stranger on the street. Or sometimes, it can mean a bigger gesture like the one Ringhofer made to Swift and his daughter.

There’s often goodness in people who are sometimes just down on their luck. But by opening up your own heart and finding a way to help them, you may discover a strong new bond for both of you in the process.