United Airlines gifts tickets to local Olympian so family can cheer her on

SHARE United Airlines gifts tickets to local Olympian so family can cheer her on
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Bradie Tennell performs during the women’s free skate event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. | Ben Margot/AP

United Airlines made an Olympic figure skater’s dream come true by providing plane tickets for her family to join her in PyeongChang.

When Carpentersville native Bradie Tennell qualified for the 2018 Olympic Games, she faced competing without her mother and two brothers by her side.

So a friend made a GoFundMe page for the athlete, whose single mother works two jobs as a registered nurse to make ends meet, in hopes of raising enough money for the travel expenses.

Chicago-based United Airlines caught wind of the fundraiser and last week showed up at the rink where Tennell trains to deliver a special surprise: tickets to send all three to the Olympics and watch their champion go for the gold.

“Through social media and the news, we heard about the GoFundMe account that had been set up and we immediately wanted to help,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said. “As Chicago’s hometown airline, and the official carrier of Team USA for the past 38 years, we wanted to help make sure Bradie’s mom and brothers got from Chicago to South Korea to cheer her on in person at the Olympics.”

The airline surprised Tennell on her 20th birthday.

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