The Ruckers hired a "handler," who "basically gives the Mexicans American cash for their plane to land and take off safely. It's called 'greasing the monkey.' (Zeke's father) was getting anxious because of the amount of guns and men surrounding the plane, and the pilot told him not to worry because 'they greased this monkey (plane) good.' They were allowed to take off about an hour later. Corruption is abundant there."
Adding to the emotional strain and bureaucratic headaches: The Mexican hospital that treated Zeke demanded upfront payment for all of the costs related to his care, surgery and stay before allowing him to leave. Can you imagine the international uproar if a U.S. hospital demanded the same of Mexican citizens in their care? The Ruckers' insurer here in the States was able to change the terminology of Zeke's airlift from "transport" to "evacuation" in order to cover those costs.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers and help from Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Ruckers have received assistance for their hotel lodging while Zeke gets treatment. Their friends and neighbors are holding a benefit fundraiser on April 14 at Randazzo Pizza in Sewell, N.J., to assist with costs. And well-wishers can leave comments and tributes on their CaringBridge page here.
Amid myriad unsolved border violence cases over the past month -- the cold-blooded murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, the assassination of an American consulate worker and her federal security officer husband in Juarez, and on and on -- the case of Zeke Rucker has a special, chilling resonance with every parent of a teen or 20-something. This could have been your child. What would you do if no one would answer your questions? Apathy is not an option.