A veteran and his wife, stranded at Los Angeles International Airport after Friday's fatal shooting, made it to their daughter's wedding in Texas with just minutes to spare and felt unforeseen kindness from an airline ticket agent working during a day of disorder.
Marine James Smith, a Vietnam veteran, and wife Anna missed their Frontier Airlines flight to Houston Friday after a gunman shot and killed a transportation security agent before a confrontation with airport police inside Terminal 3. The Smiths were planning to attend their daughter's wedding Saturday, but the shooting and investigation in the terminal left them with no way out of Los Angeles.
"It was like a disaster," James Smith said Friday evening when he spoke with NBC4 at the airport.
The Smiths were planning to fly aboard a Frontier Airlines flight out of Terminal 3 at the nation's third-busiest airport, but the shooting and investigation led to an hours-long closure.
The family booked a new flight with American Airlines, a flight that went out of another terminal.
As the Smiths prepared to board the flight, a woman identified only as a ticket agent named "Linda" took over to make sure the family's troubles were over.
She escorted the family to the front of the line and personally boarded them onto the plane to make sure they would make it to Texas in time for the father to walk his daughter down the aisle.
"I just knew I had to be at that wedding," said James Smith. "Being a Marine, I was taught to never give up. When she was told I wasn't going to make it, she was strong. But when she found out I made it, you should have seen the joy in her face."
The Smiths did not have their clothes with them, so Anna Smith wore the same clothes to the wedding that she had on during Friday's chaotic events. James Smith borrowed his son-in-law's suit.
They arrived at the church about 15 minutes before the ceremony, bringing the bride to tears of joy that smudged her makeup.
Their luggage arrived in Houston Monday. They plan to stay there until the weekend..
The Smiths' Frontier flight was one of more than 1,500 flights affected nationwide by Friday's shooting and investigation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On Sunday, flights at the airport were back on schedule and regular operations had resumed. Travelers who abandoned items at Terminal 3 returned Sunday to retrieve luggage, and drivers picked up vehicles in parking structures that were closed during the investigation.