Pro basketball player Kerron Johnson, the brother of Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson, has returned home to Alabama after spending months stuck in Romania because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson, who had been searching for flights from Europe since mid-March to get back to the United States, finally found a flight Saturday that was able to get him home. Johnson had initially told ESPN last week he was hopeful Saturday's flight would work after at least five or six false starts on getting a trip back to America.
The flight Saturday, though, was the one that got him back.
"Yeah, I did [get home]," Johnson told ESPN in a text message late Saturday night. "My wife is a superhero."
The 29-year-old had initially stayed in Romania in March because his dog, Kota, was unable to get on the flight. So Kota and Johnson remained in Europe while Johnson's pregnant wife, Gina, was back in the United States. Gina, a flight attendant, had been the one doing a lot of research and connection to try to find a flight for her husband.
As months went by and Gina's July due date grew closer, the couple decided to have Kota stay with a long-term sitter in Romania in order to make sure Johnson arrived home in time for the birth of his first child.
They will send for Kota when it is possible to find pet transportation and, worst-case, reclaim their dog when they figure out where Johnson is playing next season if they can't bring Kota back to the United States sooner.
"I could just see the stress that it was taking on [Gina]," Johnson told ESPN for a story on June 1. "The pandemic is stressful enough, and pregnancy is stressful enough. Once we found a good option, once we found somebody that we knew would care for [Kota] until we could get him home, it was, 'OK, I need to be there for my wife and kid. How can I make that happen?'
"It wasn't an easy choice. Obviously, it never is. But we made it together."