CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- People often find out when things go wrong in the airline industry, but once in a while it's good to find out when things go right.
During 2013, a US Airways flight attendant spent an hour cleaning up an elderly passenger who soiled his clothes, then reached into his own flight bag and gave the passenger clothes to wear. A JetBlue (JBLU) crew provided a hotel room for a stranded mom, who was traveling with an infant and a grandmother in a wheelchair. A United (UAL) crew reached out to comfort a six-year-old who was going to live with her dad after her mom died. And an American (AAL) pilot bought pizza for a plane full of passengers on a delayed flight.
Each year, we ask each major airline for a case where an employee took an extra step to serve the public. We reported these stories in 2011 and 2012.
Here's our 2013 list, starting with the story of Ben, a little boy who underwent several surgeries for a brain tumor, then lost his stuffed lamb on an Alaska (ALK) flight.
Ben's mom Lynne was flying with two young children from Victoria, B.C. to Los Angeles, connecting in Seattle. It wasn't until she got to the freeway that she realized the horrible truth: Lambie, the stuffed lamb, was nowhere to be found.
Ben and Lambie had been through a lot together. At four years old, Ben was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and his lamb was at his side through two surgeries and chemotherapy and multiple doctor visits.
Lynne turned around and went back to the airport, but agents couldn't find Lambie. Later, Lynne called Alaska, eventually reaching Jennifer Wade, a compassionate customer service agent. Jennifer spent three months trying to track Lambie down, providing Lynne with weekly updates.
One day, Jennifer called with news. She'd found a stuffed lamb. As it happened, she found it in a store and bought it. But Ben doesn't need to know that.
Jennifer paid for the lamb with her own money, not the airline's money.