NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A charity helped a New Yorker stranded in Puerto Rico get home just in time for an important wedding.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu explained, the groom’s big heart got the ball rolling for hurricane help.
Jose Caraballo is a retired Yonkers firefighter. His father was sick in Puerto Rico, so he flew back there in September.
He and his father were safe when Hurricane Maria hit, but he couldn’t get back to Yonkers for his sons wedding which was just two weeks away. He was supposed to be the best man, and booked eight flights trying to get home for the big day.
“Every time an arrangement was made it just kept getting canceled. So by the time I was able to make contact with Jason we pretty much came to an agreement, that it doesn’t look like I was going to make the wedding,” Jose said.
Jason is also a firefighter, and his firehouse had raised money to buy medical supplies for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. He was dropping them off at the AFYA Foundation which delivers supplies to disaster areas around the world. While he was there, he mentioned that his dad was stranded in Puerto Rico, and jokingly had a solution.
“I said, is there any way we can throw my dad into one of these packages, and just jump him on a plane, and sneak him back in, and I was laughing, and she looked at me serious because she wanted to try and help,” Jason said.
The staff at AFYA made it happen, when seats opened up on a humanitarian supply plane in Puerto Rico from the UJA Federation of New York.
“Literally at the last minute we’re on the tarmac and two people due to board that plane had a different departure time, and we’re not at the airport, and turned to me and said tell him yes, if he can be at the airport in the next few hours we are going to bring him home,” Danielle Butin said.
Jason was shocked and thrilled, and Jose made it home one week before the wedding which turned out perfectly.
“I don’t want to sound like a cliche, but it was like a fairy tale. It really was,” he said.
Jason said he plans to help the charity for the rest of his life.