Pleasanton, California – Janet Bueno is relaxing at her home in Pleasanton after a vacation she will never forget.
“It was a blessing, really,” said Bueno. “It was a blessing that we found each other.”
Bueno made plans to visit his daughter in Reno on Christmas Day. She arrived at Oakland International Airport early and sent her daughter a picture of her to let her know she was on her way.
“They kept announcing that the flight attendants did not show up. The pilots were waiting on the plane, but there were no flight attendants,” Bueno said.
While waiting, Bueno made friends as usual.
“This other young couple, she was pregnant and was due to have a baby in May,” Bueno said. .”
After waiting over two hours, Southwest canceled the flight, leaving her and everyone else to scramble to wait.
“Oh my god, I said I’m alone, what am I going to do?” Bueno recalled. She said it was then that the couple told her to follow them.
A couple, Bueno and two other women made plans and hopped on the shuttle to the rental car.
“A girl from Concord and a girl who flew to Reno to see a friend who had cancer,” Bueno said. “She wanted to visit her…and we were all there.”
Our group of five was able to rent the last car in the parking lot, an SUV, and began the 3.5 hour drive to Reno. They were all fast friends.
“There’s Gina, me, Tanya, Anthony, and Colleen,” Bueno said, pointing to the group photo.
They arrived safely in Reno, where Bueno spent the night with his family. The new group of friends exchanged numbers and started group texting. They are already making plans to meet next year.
“A couple lives in Reno and another girl lives in Reno and we vowed to go to her house,” Bueno said. But we will be together someday.”
In the chaos of travel, these strangers found joy in helping each other. Bueno calls this the Christmas miracle and reminds us all.
“Just be nice and kind to people and it will come back to you.”