PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Want to smile from ear to ear? Next time you're at the airport, have a seat and watch Marilyn Darnley for a while.
Good afternoon, a big smile and thank you – that's been Marilyn's mantra out there for nearly 17 years. She's a Salvation Army fundraising machine.
"I love helping people," said Marilyn. "It's the greatest feeling ... my ministry out here is very important to me."
A few weeks ago, the airport head honchos changed policy, saying there would be no more solicitations. The claim was "informal feedback from customers indicated they felt discomfort with solicitations at the airport."
Marilyn had to go, by Friday.
"I pray to God every night," she said. "I said God, people need us, I know you hear me God, you are with me every day."
Well, someone was listening – Heather Moore certainly was. Out of nowhere she started a petition drive.
Hundreds and hundreds of names were on a "Save Marilyn's Job" petition, the she reached out to KDKA.
"Cause you're 'Get Marty,'" Moore said. "You get results. We need to get results, we're running out of time."
With the clock ticking, they started making calls. They reached out to State Senator Matt Smith, who's on the airport board.
"You have to take community input thoughtfully and that's what we're trying to do here," he said.
Sen. Smith went to work and hit a home run for Marilyn – he said she wasn't going anywhere and the entire idea was tabled until next year.
"That's so wonderful," Marilyn said. "You don't know how happy that makes me."
At Marilyn's side when it happened was Moore, who wanted almost as much as Marilyn did.
"The goal was achieved," she said. "The voices were heard. That's what's most important, the voices were heard."
For Sen. Smith, Marilyn's role became too important to let go of.
"It's very gratifying," he said. "Anytime we can have that kind of reaction, it does make the job very worthwhile."
If you have a problem and want to get Marty, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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