Fortunately, Cassidy was rescued by a generous stranger who paid the $50 baggage fee for her — and when it turned out that the stranger was none other than NFL Arizona Cardinals player Jermaine Gresham, her tweets went viral and touched the hearts of thousands of people.
According to Cassidy's tweets, she nearly missed her flight back home because she wasn't able to pay a baggage fee at the gate.
WOW okay so the most amazing thing just happened to me and I can’t help but share it with the world. American Airlines instituted a new policy where you have to pay to take a carry-on onto the plane. Which is ridiculous but off topic.
After graduating from college earlier this month, Cassidy took a trip to Europe and visited Ireland and London. On Wednesday, she flew back home to Casa Grande, Arizona.
It was a long day of travel for Cassidy. She left for the airport in London at 3 a.m., only to discover that the train wasn't running. Three hours later, after taking an Uber, she finally made it to the airport, where her flight to Los Angeles was delayed.
By the time she finally arrived to the domestic terminal at Los Angeles, she was exhausted. When she tried to buy something at the gate and her credit card declined, she realized she had not informed her bank that she was back in the US. Since she had a flight to catch, she decided to call her bank later.
However, when she tried to board her American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Casa Grande, Cassidy was hit with an unexpected baggage fee.
I consolidate my bags into one and they measure it and say it’s just a little too big. They proceed to charge me $50, except they only take credit card, no cash. Since I just got back from Europe all my cards are being declined as Chase doesn’t know I’m back.
Cassidy told INSIDER that she was carrying a backpack and a gym bag, but the American Airlines gate agents informed her that the ticket that she purchased online would only allow her to bring one personal item on board.
A representative from American Airlines told INSIDER that Cassidy had purchased a basic economy seat, which only allows for one personal item. The representative said that when customers purchase basic economy seats online, the website specifies that they will not have access to the overhead bin and they are only permitted to bring one item that fits underneath the seat.
After the gate agents informed her that she could only bring one item on the flight, Cassidy tried putting her backpack into the gym bag. However, the gate agents measured the dimensions of the bag and told her that it was too large, so she would need to pay a $50 baggage fee.
"I was willing to pay the fee," Cassidy said. "But my credit card wasn't working, and they told me they wouldn't take cash."
They tell me that I’m going to have to miss the flight and head back to the ticket counter to pay down there. I’m pleading, devastated after a long day of travel. Then, this man walks up and says, “How much is it?” They tell him $50 and he says “I got it.”
Cassidy was told that she had to miss her flight in order to pay the baggage fee back at the ticket counter.
And although the gate agents told her that she would be able to take the next flight out, Cassidy said that she was tired and she was eager to return home.
Then, in an unexpected turn of events, a stranger walked up and offered to pay the fee for her.
I’m astonished and tell him it’s fine not to worry and he hands the lady his card as the American Airlines employees stand in silence shocked by this man’s generosity. They swipe the card and he tells me to have a great flight and hop on board.
As Cassidy spoke to the American Airlines gate agents, a man walked up to the gate to board the flight. He was one of the last people to board, and as he presented his documents to the gate agents, Cassidy noticed that he overheard her conversation with the gate agents. At this point, Cassidy said that she had gotten emotional as she pleaded with the gate agents to let her pay the fee in cash instead.
The man asked the gate agent how much the fee was. Cassidy told him that he didn't have to do this, but he turned to her and said, "I got this."
Cassidy, who described herself as "astonished," said she watched as the man gave the American Airlines gate agent his credit card and paid the $50 fee for her. After he paid the fee, he told her to have a great flight.
I’m crying as I write this and as I board the flight. This man was an angel. I stop him as he’s sitting in first class and try to give him my money but he just shook me off and told me to pay it forward.
"I was sobbing as I boarded the flight," Cassidy told us. She said that when she passed by the man sitting in first class, he noticed her crying and hugged her. She also said that she offered to pay him back with cash or Venmo, but he only laughed and smiled and told her to pay it forward.
Once she made it to her seat on the plane, Cassidy wrote the Twitter thread about her experience.
"My heart is so happy," Cassidy tweeted. "There are good people in this world. Be that person for someone because I know after this I sure will be."
My heart is so happy. There are good people in this world. Be that person for someone because I know after this I sure will be.
To Cassidy's surprise, the generous stranger who paid Cassidy's baggage fee turned out to be NFL player Jermaine Gresham from the Arizona Cardinals.
Cassidy told INSIDER that she did not recognize Gresham at first. It was only when a flight attendant approached her on the plane and mentioned that he was a professional football player when Cassidy realized who he was.
As a sports journalist who has covered various sports teams in the past, she said it did not take her a long time to figure out that the man who had so generously helped her was actually the Arizona Cardinals tight end, Gresham.
Two hours later, Cassidy tweeted an update to her followers.
"Update: It was Jermaine Gresham," she wrote. She attached a selfie that she took with him.
Cassidy said that after the plane landed, she ran into him at baggage claim. She approached him to thank him again, and made a joke about how she was surprised that he helped her considering she was wearing a shirt belonging to the Chicago Bears, a rival football team.
According to Cassidy, Gresham responded to her by saying, "If I was standing there, I would hope someone would've done the same thing for me."
Cassidy told us that she "didn't freak out" when she realized who he was. "I was just so grateful that someone stepped in and paid for me on a whim," she said. "I was in a terrible situation, and he made my day."