inside of an aeroplane cabin
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 31, 2023 ·  4 min read

Airline Didn’t Let Dad And Newborn On Plane, So Kind Stranger Took Them Home

In March of 2018, Rubin Swift of Cleveland, Ohio, found out he had a newborn baby girl in Phoenix, Arizona. He also found out that he had custody of the child. He flew to Phoenix to get her, only to find out that she wasn’t allowed on the plane. Stuck, this dad and newborn were saved by the kindness of a stranger. (1)

Stranger Saves Dad and Newborn and Takes Them Home

Most airlines have a minimum age requirement for a baby to fly. This can range anywhere from two days to two weeks. Usually, they will require that you show proof of birth date, aka a birth certificate, to fly. (1)

When Swift arrived at the airport with his daughter Ru-Andria, he was denied entry to the plane because of this. The airport requires proof that the newborn is at least seven days old, and the hospital says it can take that long for them to produce a birth certificate for her. The dad and newborn were stuck. (1)

Without enough money to stay in a hotel room for a week, he had no idea what he would do. He could sleep in the airport for the next few days, but he was afraid the authorities would find out and take his daughter away from him. (2)

A Panicked Family

Swift called his wife Tiffany, who also was at a loss for what to do. She didn’t go on the trip with him because the couple could only afford one flight. (2)

“When he called me from the airport and told me that they weren’t going to let him fly until he could get a birth certificate in four days, I felt panicked,” she said. “We didn’t have the money for a hotel room or a rental car, and I didn’t want him to sleep at the airport. I was scared because it looked like we were out of options.” (2)

The Kindness of a Stranger

Then, he recalled a hospital volunteer named Joy Ringhofer who helped look after Ru-Andria when she was in the NICU. (1)

She had given him her phone number should he need anything, so he gave her a call. Her response blew him away. (1)

“I didn’t expect her to say, ‘I’m coming to get you and take you home.’ So, I’m thinking, ‘She is going to drive me back to Cleveland’ but she actually brought me to her house and feeding me and making sure my baby is alright,” he said. (1)

She housed and fed the pair and helped Swift take care of his little girl for an entire week until they were able to fly home. (1)

“I had such a strong feeling that I needed to do this for him,” said Ringhofer.  “I know he was a kind and safe man to have in my home and he has been a perfect gentleman.” she explained. (1)

Dad, a Newborn, and an Unexpected Grandma

Very quickly, Ringhofer bonded with not just the newborn but also with Swift himself. Swift was so amazed that this woman who barely knew him would extend such immeasurable kindness towards him. (1)

“We’re two different colors and she opened up her door and it never was an issue,” said Swift. “My color was never an issue. She loves my baby. She held her. My baby was with her all night. Who does that?” (1)

Swift now refers to Ringhofer as Ru-Andria’s grandmother and has promised to come back and visit her, so she can continue to be a part of Ru-Andria’s life. (1)

Being Kind is Good For Your Health

If there’s one thing that Ringhofer knows well, it’s that being kind makes you feel good. What she might not realize, however, is that there are actually health benefits that you get when you help someone in need. (3)

Known as “helper’s high”, acts of kindness cause several hormones to flood our brains that can (3):

  • Decrease stress
  • Help with depression
  • Reduce the risk of cognitive impairment 
  • Increase your longevity
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Decrease pain
  • Boost happiness

To experience any of these benefits, you don’t have to do something as significant as inviting a downtrodden stranger to live with you for a week. Even little things like complimenting someone or opening a door for someone can give you a small hit. Do them throughout your day, and you’ll be riding “high” all day long. (3)

Keep Reading: Married couple give birth to first child after forming ‘throuple’


  1. “Dad and newborn denied by airline are saved by Good Samaritan.” Fox News. Alexandra Deabler. March 22, 2018.
  2. Dad and Infant Daughter Stranded at Airport Are Rescued by Stranger: ‘We’ll Be Friends for Life’.” People. Cathy Free. April 05, 2018
  3. The health benefits of a random act of kindness.” CNN. Sandee LaMotte. February 17, 2020