Today, the happiest guy in the world is a man named Gerard J. Arpey. He's the CEO of American Airlines, the airline that lost Jack the Cat. It was their fault, no question about it. An airline employee put Jack's cage on top of some other luggage, it fell off and must have broken open. Jack escaped; his devastated owner had to fly to her new home in California without him; and through very clever use of social media, Jack's plight became known around the world.
This is where all the miracles begin...and I think this is a great example of humanity at its best.
Someone who loved the cat and its owner, Karen Pascoe, was brilliant enough to set up a Facebook page to tell the world about what happened to Jack. Through the miracle of social media, the problem with Jack became so well known that American Airlines, who'd initially bungled their response, was forced to man up.
American Airlines created a page on Facebook so they could tell their side of the story and assure angry cat-lovers throughout the world that they were not a corporation of cold, heartless, animal-neglecting pigs.
People were touched by the story. AA employees, JFK employees, travelers...anyone who ever loved a pussycat felt tremendous empathy for Karen and for Jack. They imagined how they'd feel if their own pussycat had been lost in an airport...right before a dreadful hurricane.
People actually cared enough to show up. They put posters up around the airport and the local neighborhoods. They came to search the airport. They didn't just sit around and say, "Oh, how sad." People actually showed up to find the cat. As a result of their efforts, several other lost pussycats were recovered and given to animal shelters where -- we can only hope -- they'll be adopted.
We didn't give up hope. People are pretty cynical these days, so it was very heartening to read stories on Jack's Facebook page about other pussycats who'd been found after an extended period. Every day, people were there to let Karen and whomever was behind the search in NY know that they cared and that they weren't going to give up hoping that Jack would be found.
This is the best one. He was found. It sounds like a customs officer found him (I read that he'd fallen through a ceiling tile!) and Jack was taken immediately to a veterinarian's office in Queen's where he's now recovering from his adventure.
This incident, that is now being reported around the world, has raised awareness of the dangers of flying your animal in the cargo bay of an airplane. Perhaps it will lead to a better system for transporting beloved family members who just happen to be covered in fur. I've heard that cats are lost all the time by airlines (like George who was recently lost by Air Canada on a flight in Alberta) and I remember a few years ago a woman in the US had to get the courts to force an airline to stop flying the plane her cat had been lost on so she could go in to look for it.
The big difference in this incident is that the owner's friend was very determined to use social media to keep AA's attention on the matter and to encourage others to help in the hunt.
I think it's a miracle that Jack that Cat has been found and that he'll soon be safe home with his brother, Barry, and his owner, Karen.
I can only think that it was the collective prayers and efforts by everyone who was touched by the story that kept this pussycat safe and alive for two months.
And I'll be that there's no one in the world happier about the outcome than the CEO of American Airlines who, I'm certain, never learned in business school what you do when you lose somebody's cat.