A Facebook posting such as could stop a parent’s heart appeared on 20-year-old Bronagh Daly’s page as she joined millions of Americans in making the journey home to Thanksgiving, in her case from the University of Chicago to Brooklyn.
“Heading to the airport in a cab. Cab driver suddenly hops out at a red light and runs off saying he wants a paper. Suddenly the cab starts moving with no one in the drivers seat and we hit the car in front of us. The car moves forward and we hit the car in front again.”
The light changed, and the car in front pulled through the intersection, raising the prospect that the driverless cab would just roll on into traffic and possible disaster. One added reason for the Dalys to give thanks this year is that Bronagh was accompanied by her friend, Haley.
“Haley goes flying over the front seat and slams the brake on with her hand before we go rolling out into the intersection. The driver runs back and starts laughing.”
Bronagh and Haley were sure not laughing. They were unhurt, but they now faced the prospect of waiting for the police to come take an accident report. They were struck by a fear that can run deep in anybody joining the annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage: they might miss their flight, at a time when everything’s booked. And it was the last Southwest flight to New York that night.
But Bronagh then discovered that there could be a blessing in having a fender-bender in a neighborhood bad enough that a motorist might be disinclined to wait around for the cops.
“The car in front just drives away,” Bronagh reported.
Bronagh ended her post with the same question her parents had.
“Is this real life?”
Her friend Eleanor was the first to post a comment: “What?”
Another friend, Hewon, posted next: “Is this real life or a dream?”
Bronagh replied: “Literally just happened to us and we’re still in the cab…but I don’t know.”
Hewon said: You should probably get out of this cab please… Also write down the guys name and license number (take a pic of his everything)”
A friend added: “Except his penis.”
Bronagh made note to herself that it was a Flash taxi, cab 3680.
Another friend named Olivia wrote: “!!! Yay Haley for quick thinking and Bronagh for quick status updating! Did you make it safely?”
Bronagh gave a reply such as would soothe any parent’s heart: “yup we’re both in the airport now!”
They had arrived at Midway Airport with plenty of time, but there remained the possibility that the flight would be canceled because of the big storm about to sweep into the Northeast. And a cancelation during the busiest travel season of the year could make it difficult to book another flight. The parents figured they could always just get Bronagh’s older sister, Sinead, and drive the 12 hours to Chicago to have Thanksgiving there if the aged car made it.
The parents kept checking “flight status” on the Southwest Airline website. The 8 p.m. flight to LaGuardia was delayed 40 minutes, which by past experience could have been a precursor to a word that is dreaded most in the Thanksgiving rush: “CANCELED.”
But at 8:03 p.m. Bronagh texted that she was on the plane. The parents exhaled in relief, but then there came another text.
“There’s a snow flurry so now we have to wait for them to do some procedure,” Bronagh reported at 8:31 p.m.
A second parental exhale of relief came at 8:47 pm , when she texted: “I think we’re going to take off soon. We started moving a bit!…Taking off now I think.”
The parents were at LaGuardia Airport with the family dog, Stella, when the arrivals board announced “in range” for the flight from Chicago. A text from Bronagh came at 11:41 p.m.
The parents waited by the passageway where all arrivals in that part of the terminal were funneled. Smiles met smiles as passengers were welcomed by their families, each happy embrace a reminder that this remains the best of holidays despite the commercial encroachment of Gray Thursday. One young woman had affixed Post-its to the wall reading “Welcome Home Annie!” The expectation in her face made clear this was going to be a reunion to remember.
When Bronagh appeared, any anxiety that accompanied her journey had given her parents made the hug all the sweeter. Everybody was soon back home in Brooklyn, with her cooking quesadillas she had learned to make. They were of course the best quesadillas ever.
In the morning, Bronagh slept in. The father sat in the quiet, reading the tweets summoned by a search of #homeforthanksgiving. The result comprised a fabulous prose poem to family.
Kevin Connors: It was rainy, snowy and windy, and at times stressful, but at 1:25 a.m. we have finally arrived safely in Perrysburg
Vanessa Nuz: I’ve never seen this station so full of people.
Becca Morin: Try and wipe this smile off my face, go for it! You won’t be able to. :)
Letica Lucero: FINALLY, FINALLY HOME!!!! SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO HAPPY RIGHT NOW
Kate Preston: Reunited and it feels so good!
Colleen: Wine and string cheese. Yep.
Brian: One more flight to go till I get home.
Chris: I just flew from west coast to east coast in this storm. Was rough but made it . :-)
Gabriela: BRB while i go devour everything in my fridge
Marie: Home: that magical place where the coffee is already made and there is always enough milk for cereal
Ashley Sue: Just surprised my mom. She cried a little, happy her baby girl’s home
Chandler Bullma: I’m going to cry so much tomorrow…I haven’t seen my brothers in 7 years!!!
Amber Carrington: And this is my crazy beautiful family.
Bubba McDaniel: I will be in Wichita Falls withinthe hour!
Nicole Myers: Eeeeeee, can’t wait!
Dalton Zogleman: As much as New York is my love, truly, there is no place better than Clearwater, KS
Anna Heller Sebok: 20 degree difference & I don’t even care.
Sydney: Best. Surprise. Ever.
Anna Heller Sebok: DC you’re great, but it’s time to go where my heart is.
Anna Heller Sebok: Just got on airport shuttle, backpack, duffle, boot, & scooter
Kaitlin Geary: Coming home to my big bed is the best
Anthony Kentris: Home with cutest dog I know.
Nick Mannello: “I failed my biology midterm and paid a $1000 for a cellphone, another piece of lasagna would be great thank-you!!”
Kate Thornley-Hall: From goodbye then to hello now.
Cassandra Jean: Listening to my mom assist my grandma in changing her Facebook profile pic. I’d help, but this is way more entertaining
Jessica Coates: This homemade pumpkin pie is brought to you by my wonderful mom.
Gabbie McGee: My Mommy!!! The Iron Cupcake is what I call her!
Daniel Smith: I will not regress, I will not regress, I will not regress, I will not regress…
Abs: The well-loved recipe. Chess pie. Pure gold.
Brooke Taylor: Wheels up to Gainesville! See ya Fort Wayne!!
Kristen Everman: Well it looks like my parents have “forgotten” the wifi password. Here’s to being 15 again.
Bethany Hill: I don’t know what’s harder: explaining to my mom what Twitter is or explaining to my dad what a hipster is.
Eder Campuzano: Doing the laundry you put off for two weeks for free is like winning the World Series of procrastination.
There was also this:
Easy_Tiger: Tattooed my dad, in his kitchen, matching feet tats with me, it was awesome
Sure enough, there was an Instagram photo of Easy Tiger tatting dad’s foot, to match his own.
There was also this:
Maggie Battan: 32 flights lights to Philly have been canceled due to the storm, please please please don’t cancel mine.
Bronagh’s father could only hope that Maggie reached it home. The father took a moment to call Flash Cab in Chicago, ready to say that because of that driver Bronagh might not have made it home at all. The best he could do was to leave a message with the complaint department that elicited no immediate response.
The father decided to send a tweet of his own.
MichaelDalyNYC: Bronagh is home! Happy Thanksgiving to all!#homeforthanksgiving