After their flight was delayed, a group of strangers decided to take matters into their own hands. 所以, instead of waiting for the next flight out of Orlando, they rented a van together and drove for over 10 hours to get to Knoxville, 田纳西州.
Alanah Story, whose TikTok videos documenting the experience went mega-viral, 告诉 今天 that after their Dec. 4 flight was canceled, her mom was standing in the customer service line when she heard about the one-of-a-kind road trip.
“She yells over at me and she’s like, ‘Alanah, we’re headed downstairs to get this van with all these people!'” Story told the outlet. And the rest was history.
In the first video she posted, Story introduced her travel companions: 她自己, 她妈妈, her godmother, and a group of 13 strangers who collectively became known as “the gang.”
“I can’t make this up,” 她为剪辑加上了标题, which has over 3.6 million views as of Thursday.
Story said that initially, she didn’t think the video would blow up.
“But within, 像, 30 分钟, it is starting to get hundreds of thousands of views,” Story told 今天. “People in the van are refreshing my page the entire time. 他们就像, '天啊, we’re at this many views’ … and they’re reading the comments out loud the whole time.”
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Since the first video was such a hit, after a few hours it was time for an update.
“好吧, we’re three hours into our impromptu road trip,” Story said at the start of the second video. “We are now in Georgia, so I’m going to let everybody give their updates.”
The camera turned first to Carlos Cordero, who was traveling alongside his future stepdaughter, Mikayla Puckering, and her mom Laura — and was very intent on getting to the University of Tennessee in time for Mikayla’s tour the next morning, 根据 今天.
Cordero, 谁在开车, said he wasn’t feeling tired but was “准备好出发” 为了 “another five hours.”
“I’m number two, I don’t know what that means but that means I get to sit in the passenger seat, so I’m okay with that,” added another traveler named Seth, who got stranded while visiting friends.
As for Michelle Miller, an agriculture influencer known as The Farm Babe who was trying to get to Knoxville to give a keynote speech, her update was simple: “I just like snacks.”
Jokingly pointing out that this kind of a scenario doesn’t always turn out well in the movies, another passenger joked, “Y’all know I’m dying first.”
The final update came the next morning when they finally got off the road.
“它的 8:30 in the morning and we just made it to Knoxville so let’s wrap this story up,” Story said at the start of the clip.
Re-introducing himself as “Carlos the Driver,” Cordero shared how grateful he was for the experience.
“My baby girl had her heart set out to make this appointment for the University of Tennessee,” 他说, going on to say that “because of a community that got together,” she would be able to make it on time.
Playfully he added, “and to the university, this is the level of commitment that you’re going to get from my family”
As for his passenger seat buddy? “诚实地, I tried to nap a good bit of it, but I like to think I was good moral support for Carlos, so we’re going to go with that,” said Seth.
Mikayla also gave the “pretty cool” strangers a shoutout on TikTok.
“I was just trying to make it to my college tour and ended up on a road trip in a creepy white van with a bunch of strangers from the airport,” she joked in the post.
然而, in the caption Mikayla wrote that “these strangers were actually pretty cool (well not strangers anymore). Thank you for enabling me to make it to my college visit!!”
As for why their journey went viral, Story said it was a dose of “wholesome fun” that showed people coming together in a difficult situation.
“In my video, you can clearly see our differences. 和, 你知道, I feel like we’re so divided right now and to be able to see just a ragtag group of strangers who are totally different from each other, come together and just enjoy a crazy situation together,” 她告诉 今天. “I feel like it resonates with a lot of people.”