Like everyone else today my thoughts are of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks for those that lost their lives and for their loved ones
But this post is a thank you to another city for the kindness they showed in that time. We were in Vancouver on holiday and we were due to fly home the next day. As it was the last day of our holiday, we’d woken up late and on my way to the shared kitchen I ran into the the B&B owner. He was in shock and he was saying ‘I can’t believe it’ over and over when I asked him what he was talking about he told me in tears to turn the TV on. I walked back to find Paul already had the news on and we sat watching it like everyone else in disbelief.
After a few hours neither of us could watch the TV anymore and needed to get outside. We walked into downtown and everyone was out on the streets, there are a lot of tall buildings in Vancouver and no one wanted to be in them. Oddly for someone who takes photos of anything and everything, I don’t have any of that day. I had my camera with me but I didn’t take a single photo, I just couldn’t.
That afternoon we realised we had a problem, airspace was shut for the forseeable future until it was safe to reopen and we wouldn’t be flying anywhere for days. We along with 8,000 other people diverted into Vancouver airport from all the Pacific flights were stranded.
You know what? The people of Vancouver mobilized and they were bloody amazing. Vancouver airport was rammed with travellers who were stuck there, so local people went to the airport to ask complete strangers some alone, some whole families if they wanted somewhere to stay. This carried on all day, people opened their homes to complete strangers and some of them even drove Americans back home when the boarder re-opened.
John our B&B owner didn’t hesitate, he offered to put us up free of charge, until we could fly out. That night took us to dinner with the other guests who were stranded, a really lovely gesture.
During the few days that followed Barmen who spotted us watching the news, (we were wondering when airspace would re-open) gave us free drinks and food, when we explained we stuck there. The lady who ran the internet cafe let me use her computer for free so I could email home and let our parents know we were ok and jobs that we’d be back late. Everyone we met couldn’t have done enough to help us, it really was amazing.
So from the bottom of my heart I’d like to thank Vancouver for everything they did for us strangers in their city 10 years ago, we’ll never forget it.