ORLANDO, Florida — One of the youngest victims in Orlando’s deadly shooting was Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. Known as Omar to friends, he was a dancer and barista. He lived in Cleveland with his family for several years until his mother moved them to Florida in 2012.
On Tuesday, less than three days after Omar’s brutal murder, his grandmother, heartbroken and alone, boarded a flight to Orlando to attend his funeral.
Jetblue crew member Kelly Davis Karas decided that the woman, though grieving alone, could not leave the plane without knowing the world was with her. Karas passed around a piece of paper for passengers to sign so their words might ease the grandmother’s aching heart.
As Karas pushed the beverage cart down the plane’s aisle, she whispered to passengers about the paper. Halfway down the aisle, another crew member on board said more paper was needed. Instead of signing their names and moving on, passengers were writing paragraphs—long notes of compassion, grief and strength.
“When we gathered them together to present them to her, we didn’t have just a sheet of paper covered in names, which is what I had envisioned. Instead, we had page after page after page after page of long messages offering condolences, peace, love and support. There were even a couple of cash donations, and more than a few tears,” Karas wrote on Facebook.
After the hour-and-a-half flight, Karas made the standard announcements followed by “We stand with Orlando.” She also got the okay from the grandmother to include a moment of silence for Omar.
Karas then marveled as passengers stopped, one by one, to share a moment with the grandmother as they disembarked.
“As we deplaned, EVERY SINGLE PERSON STOPPED TO OFFER HER THEIR CONDOLENCES. Some just said they were sorry, some touched her hand, some hugged her, some cried with her. But every single person stopped to speak to her, and not a single person was impatient at the slower deplaning process”, she wrote.
“We can confirm that these are our crewmembers, and that the story appears to be an accurate account of one of our flights from yesterday morning,” Jetblue spokeswoman Morgan Johnston told CNN.