A woman from Phoenix and a man from Cleveland who were once strangers now share an unlikely friendship and a love for a baby girl.
Rubin Swift was in Phoenix to pick up his newborn daughter, Ru-Andria. He had just been granted custody of his daughter and was going to fly home to Cleveland with her.
But when Swift arrived at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, he was told that he and Ru-Andria could not return home yet. Frontier Airlines’ policy states that babies under seven days old cannot fly. Ru-Andria was just four days old.
Swift says he had a note from the hospital saying the baby was clear to fly, but the airline would not allow it. He left the airport with no place to stay for the next three days.
That’s where Joy Ringhofer comes in. Ringhofer volunteers at Banner University Medical Center, where Ru-Andria was born. She met Swift when he came to pick up his new daughter.
“I was rocking her when her father came in and we sort of made a connection right away,” Ringhofer told CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO
When Swift left the airport he decided to call Ringhofer for help. Her answer surprised him.
“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 [is] feeding me and making sure my baby is alright,” Swift said.
Swift stayed with Ringhofer for the next three days, until Ru-Andria was able to fly.
“I had such a strong feeling that I needed to do this for him,” Ringhofer said. “I know he was a kind and safe man to have in my home and he has been a perfect gentleman.”
“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?”
Swift was able to fly back to Cleveland with Ru-Andria on Tuesday, but he promised to come back to Phoenix and visit the stranger who had become like family.
“She’s fed me, she took care of me. She’s the grandmother to my child now. She looked after me,” the new dad said about his baby’s new “grandmother.” “I’m grateful.”