Stranded strangers rent van to get to destination, become friends

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(NewsNation) — An unlikely group is now like family after a flight cancellation forced them to get creative.

Alanah Story’s Frontier Airlines flight to Knoxville, Tennessee, on Dec. 4 was cancelled, leaving Story and the rest of the would-be passengers potentially stranded for days in Orlando, Florida.

“We have little siblings, so we had to get home and take care of them. Mikayla had to get to UT for a tour she was supposed to be going on. Farm Bay was the keynote speaker at an agriculture event in Knoxville, and it was just time to get back there,” Story said.

Some of the passengers started talking and decided to rent a van to drive from Orlando to Knoxville.

“People overheard us talking about it and were like, ‘oh you’re going to get a van? Can I go too?’ So that’s kind of how our group was born,” Story said.

Story, a social media content creator, pulled out her cell phone and started describing the situation.

“We decided to rent a 15-passenger van and ride back eight hours to Tennessee, so meet the gang,” she said.

Soon, more than a million people started watching the group of 13’s spontaneous adventure.

“We were reading the comments out loud. And so, like we were having a lot of fun with it like that was one of the main things that like we talked about was the video and we got to know each other pretty well too,” Story said.

The crew arrived in Knoxville the next morning with everyone making it to their prior commitments.

“We made our 10 a.m. appointment … all because of a community that got together,” one of the passengers said.

As for Story, she gained thousands of new TikTok followers and new friends for life.

“You can clearly see on your screen how different we are. We were all able to come together. That’s kind of like the whole premise of what our nation is about, so I’m really thankful that we were able to do that and give a good example of it,” Story said.

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