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Heartwarming heart attack: Man looking to thank Kelowna Air Canada Angel

Gerry Wagner is hoping to thank the Air Canada Angel that helped him get home in the nick of time, saving his life
Gerry Wagner is hoping to thank the Air Canada Angel that got him home before his life-threatening heart attack. (Gerry Wagner)

Most feel-good happy stories do not start with cancelled flights, but this one does.

On June 2, an unknown Air Canada employee walked into the Kelowna International Airport to start her shift amidst a storm of company-wide technical issues causing flights across the country to be grounded. At 4 a.m., the airport was busy with exhausted and frustrated customers trying to get home.

Gerry Wagner had been visiting Kelowna for work and was one of the passengers in the sea of humanity and luggage searching for a way out.

In a phone interview with Capital News, Wagner said that his “angel” a calm and kindhearted Air Canada employee, took the time to create an entirely new itinerary for him with new flights and new connecting cities that miraculously had him landing back in his home city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at his originally scheduled time.

Many travellers impacted by the technical issues missed their flights and some were delayed by days.

“This woman unknowingly saved my life,” said Wagner.

At 7 a.m. the next morning, on June 3, Wagner woke up in his Philadelphia residence, feeling ill. Unbeknownst to him, he was having a type of heart attack aptly named the “widow maker”.

Wagner’s wife was out of town and not thinking that a heart attack was even remotely possible for a healthy man like himself, he took his dog outside to get some fresh air.

He then spoke with his neighbours and told them that he was feeling himself. They convinced him to call 911 and Wagner was immediately taken to the hospital where he received emergent life-saving treatment.

Wagner’s doctor told him that his life was saved in a matter of minutes.

“So many things had to go perfectly right… I would have died on an airplane or in a hotel room.”

“I just want to thank her.”

Now recovered, Wagner has attempted multiple times to thank the Air Canada employee who he says saved his life. Unfortunately, he did not catch the employee’s name but says that he can still picture her face.

He has returned to Kelowna and attempted to contact Air Canada multiple times with no success.

“They don’t know how to take a compliment,” he joked.

Nearly seven months later, Wagner is still on a mission to thank the “Air Canada Angel” who saved his life by helping him early in the morning on June 2.

People with any information can message him on LinkedIn or through Capital News by emailing

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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