With flights at airports across the country canceled due to the massive winter storms, four strangers at an airport in Tampa did the only logical thing: rented a car and drove the nearly 1,100 miles to Ohio.
Bridget Schuster told NBC affiliate WFLA-TV she was trying to make her Thursday evening flight from Tampa International Airport when it was canceled and another flight was out of the question.
“The earliest they could get us out of there was going to be (Saturday) at 6 p.m.,” said Bridget Schuster. “And we all wanted to get back there, obviously, way earlier than that.”
Ohio native Greg Henry found himself with the same problem.
“In my head I’m thinking, ‘I already know there’s not going to be any more flights,’” said Greg Henry. “Especially to Cleveland, especially knowing there’s a storm.”
So, Henry rented a car and decided he would make the drive. But he wouldn’t be alone as fellow Ohio resident Shobi Maynard joined in along with both Schuster and Abby Radcliffe.
“So as we’re just all talking, I think at some it’s just all of us were like, ‘Yeah, we’re doing it,’” said Radcliffe, a Florida native. “And we just looked at each other and we’re like, ‘Are you in?’ ‘Yeah, we’re in. Let’s go for it.’”
The four travelers said the friendship grew stronger in the 2023 Kia Soul, despite the cramped space.
“We had a lot of cool conversations,” said Radcliffe. “I think Shobi just asked a lot of, like, really neat questions. And then we were all just asking each other super random stuff.”
Schuster posted viral updates of the journey on her TikTok account, with 13 million total views for the trip.
“My favorite part was, when I posted the TikToks,” said Schuster. “Reading the comments out loud to everybody in the car, we were just dying laughing.”
The four strangers listened to Christmas music during the trip and grew closer while all strongly suggesting not getting in cars with strangers in the future.
“We got into some very deep, deep conversation about our lives and what we’ve been going through,” said Maynard. “It’s like we just these people but it’s like, literally from the beginning we just had that connection.”
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