OLCOTT, N.Y. (WIVB) - Direct Air won't be going anywhere for a while. The discount career announced it was suspending operations until May 15th, forcing the family of a child fighting cancer looking for a 'plan B' to allow him to see the ocean.
The 8-year-old cancer patient's life dream was to see the ocean, and it was about to come true at the end of this month with a family vacation to Florida. Now, that dream is grounded because of Direct Air.
Ryan Kruzicke has been undergoing cancer treatments since he was just six-months-old. The trip to visit family and see the ocean was supposed to be his reward for finally making into remission.
His parents say they scrimped and saved for a year to come up with the $700 for their airline tickets. Direct Air never gave them so much as even a phone call. They learned their flight was canceled when they saw our report on News 4 Monday night. Now, they say there's just no way the trip can happen.
"You pump him up. You know, 'You get to see the ocean!' I was telling him about the ocean because I was raised in Florida, you know, what the sand feels like and what the sun feels like, and he's all excited," said Ryan's mom, Tami Mills.
Direct Air hasn't offered them a refund or to help them reschedule. And with Ryan's medical bills, they don't have the money for another carrier. Ryan's father was close to tears as he recounted having to tell his son the heartbreaking news.
"I couldn't go to sleep last night because I was wondering how I was going to break this to my son. It really bothered me," said Steve Kruzicke.
Mills added, "Then your mind starts turning. 'Okay, do we have a flight? Do we not have a flight? Now what do we do...'"
Mills spent all of Tuesday on the phone, trying to find an answer to those questions. After 14 phone calls, she finally got through to a live person, who told her the same thing our newsroom reported Tuesday.
"She said executives were in a meeting, deciding the future of the company," said Mills.
Though the loss of the $700 in airfare stings, it pains Ryan's parents more that their son won't be able to see the ocean or get to meet two uncles who have never seen him before.
Ryan said, "It's very sad. We had all these plans made, and now we have to wait till next year to do it."
Next year's trip hinges on whether the family can save enough money, and whether Ryan stays healthy enough to take the trip.
News 4 has received numerous phone calls and e-mails from people offering to help the Kruzicke family. If you're interested in helping, you can send us an e-mail here and we will forward that on to them.
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