RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - "It's like somebody ripped into my chest, ripped half of my heart out," said Ashley Bennett of Chesterfield. "I could go on about this for hours because cosplay is that one thing I love in my life."
22-year-old Ashley Bennett loves "costume play," or cosplay for short. It's a popular art form practiced by a dedicated community. It's why she is so distraught after her luggage was damaged and lost during a flight from Atlanta to Richmond earlier this month.
She was on her way back from a cosplay convention. Her makeup case, previously intact, was damaged during travel. Only a portion is left, the bottom part somehow came unlatched and lost.
"I almost burst into tears because this case had actually been a gift my mom had actually helped front the money for this," Bennett said. "I've spent many sleepless nights making some of the items that were in there."
She says the material that she lost helped her make the characters come alive.
"All my lipsticks, all my powder, all my special effects makeup, my wigs, my jewelry, my airbrush machine," Bennett said.
She says originally a Delta rep at Richmond's airport told her the value of what she lost was about $400. That sent her into a tailspin because she says the dollar value is more than that, not to mention the sentimental value.
"Because a lot of that jewelry had sentimental value to me, it was either incredibly expensive or it had a deep sentimental value because my grandmother made jewelry. She's no longer alive," Bennett said.
That's when she started calling Delta directly, where she says she either got different versions of what she needed to do next, or she was put on hold.
"'Oh, let me put you on hold, let me see if I can get you somebody to talk to.' I'm on hold for three-and-a-half hours," said Bennett. "I am literally on hold for three-and-a-half hours and I'm just like, I don't have time for this!"
Frustrated and at the end of her rope, Bennett called 12 On Your Side. I reached out to Delta and company officials jumped right on the situation. They tell me a customer care team and a baggage claim team are now working directly with Ashley to resolve this issue.
And not a moment too soon for Ashley, who looks forward to returning to her first love.
"It's the one thing I absolutely can't live without for me. Some people are obsessed with football and NASCAR. I'm obsessed with going to conventions and being in fantasy for a couple of days," Bennett said.
Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved