Delta Airlines Goes Above and Beyond to Return a Boy’s Most Prized Possession

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Delta spokesperson Michael Thomas said, “Efforts made to reunite this very special shirt with this customer … truly speaks to the culture of our dedicated employees.”

Two years ago 7-year-old Cole Holzer’s dad, Bryan Holzer, died in a freak accident while hanging Christmas lights. Since that tragedy, Cole has taken the “well-worn” Nike shirt his father was wearing that day everywhere with him. Tonya Holzer, Cole’s mom said, “Ever since [the accident] he will lay out and spray his dad’s cologne on it and cuddle up with it and sing the daddy song to go to bed.” But on March 27, on a Delta flight from Fargo to San Diego, Cole lost his “daddy shirt.”

In the excitement and rush to disembark, Cole accidentally left the shirt behind, and the family didn’t realize what had happened until they were driving away from the airport. “I started to cry a little bit,” Cole admitted afterwards. A family friend, Kelly Cruchet, who was “instrumental” in recovering the lost shirt wrote a letter describing how Delta employees “went above and beyond” to find Cole’s dad’s shirt and return it to the boy.

ABC News obtained a copy of the letter, which they say:

[D]etails [Cruchet’s] phone call to the Delta 800 number and how that employee called all over the San Diego airport looking for the shirt. The plane the Holzers had been on had just left San Diego for Minneapolis. Eventually, Cruchet got in touch with Delta’s Lost & Found at the San Diego airport. Vicki Katseanes, another Delta employee, said she would check with the cleaning crew.

In the meantime, Cruchet sent out emails and posted on Facebook, hoping to find someone who would meet the plane in Minneapolis and see if the shirt was still onboard. Her request was seen by a Delta pilot, Mike McLean, who called her and said he would try to contact ground control and see if they could get in touch with the gate.

“I then got the heartbreaking call from Vicki that the cleaning crew never found it, I thanked her and we ended the call,” Cruchet’s letter said. “A short time later she called back and said she had been in contact with Alfredo, a Delta ramp supervisor. They wanted to confirm their names to confirm their flight and rows and said they were going to start looking through garbage!”

Thirty minutes after that last conversation, Cruchet got another call from Vicki: “They found the daddy shirt.” Cole and his mom immediately returned to the airport to meet Vicki and get the shirt back.

In closing Cruchet wrote:

We all miss Bryan so much … I want to thank all involved today for what they did for this little boy they had never met – as a friend stated, ‘Delta allowed a daddy to still be there for his little boy’…even if he can’t be with him on earth. You all went so far above and beyond and the statement I made to Vicki goes to all of you: YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PEOPLE I HAVE NEVER MET!”

daddy shirt

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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.


  1. Beautiful story. Now that’s what I call customer service. A beautiful reminder of the good in humanity.

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