Deborah Rombaut was not at Sacramento International Airport to make pals. She just wanted to get dwelling to Los Angeles.
But the mass cancellation of Southwest Airlines flights, which has remaining countless numbers of travelers stranded in airports and hotel rooms throughout the place, experienced a silver lining for Rombaut.
The working day just after Xmas, following her next Southwest flight was canceled, she achieved three other gals hoping to head to Southern California.
The quartet rented an SUV and drove eight hours to Hollywood — with a surprise pit stop at a property in Stockton, exactly where they loaded up on macaroni and cheese, collard greens and electricity beverages.
“It was just women of all ages supporting women of all ages,” stated Rombaut, who, coincidentally, acted in a Southwest Airways Super Bowl commercial in 2008. “It is a heartwarming tale in phrases of us supporting each other out and building new connections.”
Following understanding that her 10:15 a.m. Monday flight from Sacramento to Hollywood Burbank Airport had been canceled — a makeup for her Xmas Day flight, also canceled — Rombaut experimented with to guide a rental car from a seat at her gate.
Up coming to her, Joan, 75, was ready for her Southwest flight to San Diego — also canceled.
“She likely would have stayed at that airport for times on finish till they last but not least flew her,” Rombaut said. “And I was like, ‘Well, if you wanna go, I’m leaving now.’”
And then there had been two.
Scouring the “bag graveyard” for Rombaut’s baggage, they met a further woman, Debbie, 65, who reported she could assist drive. She lived in Los Angeles as properly.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, occur with us,’” Rombaut claimed.
And then there have been three.
The trio headed to the rental car or truck location, the place hundreds of desperate individuals were being making an attempt to secure autos. A handy Business rental agent named Ebony set them up with an Infiniti QX80.
The fourth and closing member of the crew, Jayme Ritchie, 44, was also waiting around for a car or truck.
“I was basically hopeless,” she recalled. “I was talking to Debbie. I questioned them wherever they were being going, and they explained they were being heading to Los Angeles. I said I was likely to Orange County. I never know if I questioned them or if Debbie just sort of realized I needed aid. They just were great.”
The 4 gals — who experienced been scheduled that day to take flights from Sacramento to Hollywood Burbank Airport, Los Angeles Intercontinental Airport, Lengthy Beach Airport and San Diego Global Airport — bought in the auto and headed south. It was all around 4:15 p.m.
They have been introduced together by their anger with Southwest, their tiredness and their gratitude at no more time being within an airport.
When Debbie noticed a signal for Stockton, she informed Rombaut to pull off the freeway.
“Debbie states, ‘My sister lives in this article. I have mac and cheese still left more than.’ She phones her sister, gets her handle and states we’ll be there in five minutes,” Rombaut said.
“The halt in Stockton was surreal. I was like, am I truly listed here in your sister’s residence in Stockton? It was so insane, but they have been so welcoming and great,” reported Ritchie.
They fulfilled Debbie’s mother and her two sisters. They ate, then acquired again on the street. Rombaut drank a few of vitality beverages to retain her heading.
“We talked about our households and a whole lot of things. We have been driving for 8 several hours,” Rombaut said. “I was grateful not to be by myself. We all ended up. We all served every other.”
The four built it to Rombaut’s dwelling in Hollywood, wherever they termed Lyfts to get the other 3 to their places.
They were being happy to have produced the most effective of a horrible predicament.
“I’m grateful to have produced the acquaintances and that I was able to make it as beneficial an knowledge as it could be. But I still have a headache,” Rombaut stated.