Rosa Levy, 88, had been making the trip from Argentina to Boston to visit her family for over 20 years. It wasn't until this year’s visit that something went wrong, her family said.
“She was going back to her home [Argentina] and from Boston was supposed to connect from New York,” said Leila Wons, 31, Levy’s granddaughter. “She was supposed to get to the flight to Argentina at 10 p.m. and it was delayed to 8 a.m. the next morning."
Being that Levy could not speak English, Wons and her parents began panicking when they were unable to locate Levy.
“It's difficult for her to communicate,” Wons said. “The issue was that the airline didn't keep a record of what hotel they were sending her to and we couldn't find where she was."
According to her granddaughter, Levy had been visiting the U.S. regularly, every one to two years. "It was unusual and this has never happened before," she said.
Not living in New York, Wons reached out to people on the Internet using an online community from her alma mater, Wellesley College. Soon after, she was connected to 47-year-old Maryann Ford, a fellow Wellesley alumna.
Ford, who live in Manhattan, read Wons' call for help via social media.
“I was on my way to sleep and a Wellesley friend tagged me in a post, asking if I could help,” Ford told ABC News. “I got out of my PJ’s, threw on some sweats, and hopped in a cab to JFK to find her.”
With a digital picture of Wons’ grandmother in hand, Ford asked if anyone had seen Rosa Levy in the near-empty airport.
After some hurdles and help from airline employees, Ford reached a Holiday Inn, where she called for police assistance to help find Levy.
“It was 4 a.m. and my grandmother was getting on the shuttle to the airport,” said Wons. “That’s when Maryann saw her.”
After putting their worries at ease, Ford, a complete stranger of Levy’s family, had done a deed that made Leila Wons forever grateful.
“She’s an angel," said Wons. "I couldn't have imagined that somebody I never met would do this."
As for Ford, she thanks the power of social media.
“Social media made this possible,” Ford said. “It was so great to continually check this thread and read the suggestions people made on what my next move should be, and how I could find this person."
“It didn’t matter if I didn’t know [Wons] or her grandmother because this isn't about me. I feel like this is kind of what we are supposed to be doing in this world is helping each other," Ford said.