New York, NY – Two New York State troopers went above and beyond the call of duty on Thursday, when they noticed a distraught woman outside LaGuardia Airport.
“As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News.
Judson had learned that her childhood friend, 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, was among the 17 people murdered during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 – the same school from which Judson had also graduated.
“Meadow’s family has been a second family to us and always will be,” Judson wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
According to NBC News, as the crying woman made her way into the airport, she was approached by New York State Police (NYSP) Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski, who asked her if she was alright.
Judson explained that her family friend had been killed in the school massacre, and that she needed to be directed to a ticket counter so she could fly home immediately.
“I couldn’t even get out the words,” she said. “Security people were bringing me tissues.”
The troopers escorted her to a JetBlue Airways agent, who was able to find her a one-way ticket for just under $700.
Unable to afford the fare, Judson begged the agent to reduce the cost or to consider a bereavement discount.
The agent was unable to lower the price, and was nearly forced to give the ticket up for another potential buyer, when Troopers Troy and Karasinski stepped in.
“I look up, and the state troopers are standing there, and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy.”
“They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families. This is a tough time,'” she said.
“I can’t express the gratitude I have for these two men enough,” Judson said in her Facebook post. “I am so thankful to be with my family at this time as Florida will always be my home. Meadow will forever be in my heart, as will Trooper Troy, Trooper Karasinski and the 16 other victims taken from us too soon.”
Trooper Troy told NBC News that he sympathized with Judson’s desperation to be with her family.
“You’re going to go through anything to get there,” he said. “I have five little sisters. If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out.”
“[We] both agreed if it was anybody in our family that was trying to get down there that we would do anything that we could to try to help,” he said of himself and Trooper Karasinski.
Judson said that the troopers’ kind gesture “made my heart full and heavy at the same time.”