Linda was the one who came up with the idea for their anniversary: Spend the week sailing with their two friends in the British Virgin Islands. Michael liked the idea right away.
They arrived at Logan airport at 6 a.m. bleary-eyed on a Friday. The weathermen were predicting a horrendous February snowstorm, but they had visions of sunshine before them. They checked in, boarded their flight, stashed the carry-ons and sat down to await takeoff. But the minutes went by and takeoff never came. The minutes turned into hours: 8 o’clock came and went, then 9 o’clock. Finally, at 10 o’clock, they were told the airport had been closed because of the snowstorm. They were ordered to leave the plane.
The passengers dispersed to coffee shops and others places in the terminal with no idea of when they would be able to get back on the plane. Eventually, they were informed that the flight was canceled and that every other flight for the next seven days was booked solid. Instead of sunshine, they were stuck at Logan in two feet of snow and no way out!
It was around dinnertime when Linda noticed that Michael was nowhere to be seen. He had uncharacteristically disappeared without telling her where he was going. Then she saw a crowd gathering at the terminal window and went to see what the excitement was. She overheard one of the other passengers tell a friend, “That guy with the white hair in the red jacket has been arrested. The police are dragging him off the plane in handcuffs”
She ran to the window just in time to see several Massachusetts State Police officers pulling Michael out of the plane with his hands cuffed behind his back. Michael had decided to take things into his own hands. He had reboarded the plane, taken possession of the seat he had paid for and had refused to leave until he was guaranteed a flight out of Logan. Later, Michael told a friend, “I got better treatment from the Nazis that those guys.”
The officers took Michael to a precinct holding tank and locked him up behind bars. I took Linda several hours to bail him out. They both wondered what they were going to do. Their two friends were waiting for them in Tortula.
Michael checked and found out there were a few empty seats on another flight to Tortula the next morning, but the hitch was that it was flying out of Philadelphia, Pa. Checking bus times from Boston, they learned that a midnight bus was due to arrive in Philadelphia at 8 a.m., a scant 30 minutes prior to the flight’s departure time at 8:30 a.m.
Linda doubted they could make it, but was willing to give it a chance.
The bus left Boston at midnight with the first stop in New York City. There was a loud crowd on board that stayed awake all night, playing boomboxes and shouting to each other. Linda and Michael barely got any sleep. Fortunately, many of the passengers cleared out in New York City and things calmed down.
Eventually, the bus pulled into Philadelphia around 8 a.m. The two ran out of the station and grabbed the first cab they saw. The cab flew through the busy downtown district and out to the airport. Linda remembers arriving at the terminal “with just seconds to spare.”
Miraculously, they were able to check in and board the plane, where they collapsed in their seats. Later that afternoon they arrived in the sunshine of Tortula. They couldn’t remember ever being that tired. They had been awake for nearly 36 hours.
As they stepped off the plane they saw Nancy and Jeff. Walking through the airport to greet their friends they heard cheers. Loking around, they saw that people standing around them in the airport were cheering them. Somehow, news of their adventure had reached the island before they had.
They were heroes.