Make us your home page
Instagram

Clearwater veteran who took on Spirit Airlines dies after battle with cancer

Veteran Jerry Meekins sits outside the Spirit Airlines ticket counter in protest April 24 at Tampa International Airport.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Veteran Jerry Meekins sits outside the Spirit Airlines ticket counter in protest April 24 at Tampa International Airport.

Jerry Meekins, the terminally ill Clearwater man who made national news in April when Spirit Airlines denied him a refund even though he was too sick to fly, died Tuesday night after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer.

Spirit Airlines denied Meekins, a 76-year-old Vietnam veteran, a refund for his $197 plane ticket, even though his doctors had ordered him not to fly.

Meekins booked his ticket just a few days before his doctors told him there was nothing more they could do. He was trying to get to New Jersey to take care of his daughter, who needed help while she recovered from knee surgery.

"If they call it 'Spirit Airlines,' where is their spirit?" he asked at the time.

Spirit Airlines eventually did refund the ticket and promised to make a $5,000 donation in Meekins' name to his charity of choice, the Wounded Warrior Project.

"I'm glad that Spirit Airlines gave him something to be excited about at the end of his life," said Carol Gray, Meekins' girlfriend, "because I do believe it added probably a good month to the end of his life."

Clearwater veteran who took on Spirit Airlines dies after battle with cancer 07/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  2. The FHP trooper behind quota on speeding tickets will retire Sept. 5

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Florida Highway Patrol official's call for troopers to meet ticket quotas has cost him his job.

    Major Mark D. Welch, Troop Commander of Troop H, wrote an email asking his employees that he wants them to write two citations each hour. "This is not a quota," he wrote. His resignation is effective Sept. 5. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  4. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  5. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]