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Boston policeman drives stranded Westfield family back to Maine after teen’s surgery

WESTFIELD, Maine — Kori Malenfant is recovering from surgery at home with her family after a long trip back from New York City last week that included an unexpected ride in a police car.

From Dec. 28 to Jan. 2 Malenfant and her parents were in New York for the 19-year-old to receive decompression surgery for Chiari malformation, a rare condition where the brain experiences extra pressure at the base of the skull and upper spinal canal.

Kori Malenfant has had debilitating symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and ringing noises for two years, and the surgery to remove a part of the skull and ease the pressure is expected to end those symptoms, her mother Wendi Malenfant said Tuesday.

She said the family decided to drive to Portland and take trains to New York to avoid the area’s notorious traffic. Everything was going smoothly until the latest snowstorm disrupted their journey back north last Thursday and they had to wait until Saturday. On Saturday, their departure from New York was delayed and slow going to Boston, where they missed the 4:45 p.m. train from Boston to Portland.

“We got there at 4:50,” Malenfant said.

They were going to take the next train, leaving at 7:30 p.m., but wanted to find a safe, warm place for Kori to rest while they waited at Boston’s North station.

“North Station was freezing,” Malenfant said. “There was no comfortable seating and no warm places to sit.”

Pretty soon, though, they were on their way back to Maine in a heated, comfortable SUV.

Malenfant said she approached a few Boston police officers at the train station to ask if there was a place they could leave their luggage while going to warm up at an eatery nearby.

“The officers were wonderful, and one said, let me go talk to my captain. Shortly after, Kelley McCormick approached us and took our luggage and said, come with me, ‘I’ve got an idea,’” Malenfant recalled.

“He loaded all of our stuff into the back of his SUV and said jump in… He’s talking and telling us stories, and before we know it, we’re getting further and further away from the train station. Then I noticed the signs and that we were headed north. I asked, ‘Are you taking us to Portland?’”

Malenfant said that McCormick replied: “Of course I’m taking you to Portland. Your daughter’s not going to sit in that cold train station being four days post-surgery.”

“It was amazing,” Malenfant said. “We ended up in Portland at 7:30. We stayed in Freeport that night, to let Kori rest before the drive home.”

Malenfant said the family feels lucky to have experienced McCormick’s act of kindness and hope it inspires others.

Kori is settling back in at home and looking forward to her recovery, Malenfant said. “It’s a long recovery. All in all, she’s doing really well. We won’t know for a while, but we already feel she’s had relief from some of her symptoms.”

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