Alex Hamberger is flying the friendly skies Thursday to visit his infant niece several states away—a trip made even friendlier after American Airlines dropped the change fee issued when he had to cancel his original flight, CNN reports.
The Buffalo, NY, man has already managed to see his now-8-month-old niece, Mia, three times since she was born in September, even though she lives in Kansas City, per WIVB.
"She just makes the best faces, and she's really easygoing," he gushes. But his latest visit was postponed in March when he became ill and his doctor recommended he cancel his trip.
Hamberger's ticket was nonrefundable, which meant he'd be hit with a change fee of about $200—so he whipped out pen and paper and wrote a cheerful letter to American.
"Dear most kind and benevolent American Airlines Customer Service staff member, I write to you with the hopes that you may take mercy on me and afford a little sympathy for this flyer who has taken quite ill and had to postpone his trip to see his beloved niece," he began the letter.
He continued his often funny note (there was even a Golden Girls reference) by documenting his disappointing diagnosis and acknowledging the airline might have "356 reasons you can't refund [the change fee] to me," but asking for it anyway—even sending along a bunch of photos of him and Mia.
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He continues, "I visited the doctor that evening and he was sufficiently concerned with my symptoms that he suggested I cancel my planned trip to Kansas City the following day. “WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY,” I wondered silently to myself. It seemed like a little cold, but alas, he concluded travel was unreasonable and issued me the enclosed note. Always a rule follower, I abided by his advice."
His signature may have clinched the deal: "With gratitude, Alex Hamberger, Frequent Flyer, Brother, Uncle, Formerly sick person, Currently healthy person, Grateful Flyer." Finally, he sent his note via the old-fashioned postal service.
His tactic worked, with an airline rep informing him the fee would be dropped and writing, "I'm glad you are 'formerly sick' and 'currently healthy' to make plans to see your precious niece. She sure is a lucky little girl to have such a loving Uncle Al!" Hamberger tells WIVB the reply "just brightened my whole day, and even the days since then." (Another heartwarming airline story: When these babies cried, passengers clapped.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Guy Sends Airline a Merry Letter, Actually Gets What He Wants