This is Not a Movie: 13 Strangers Go on a Road Trip Together After Flight Cancellation
Although it might seem like the premise for a wacky road trip comedy, a group of 13 strangers made their way to Knoxville together in a minivan after a sudden flight cancellation. The ragtag bunch of travelers decided to band together and drive from Orlando International Airport instead of waiting for the next plane.
After meeting at the airport, the 13 travelers — all from different areas in the US and Mexico — decided it would be easiest to ride to Orlando together. TikTok user @alanahstory21 documented the entire trip online, introducing each of the travelers and explaining why they had to make it to Knoxville as soon as possible.
Same destination, different reasons for this road trip
One traveler had to get to Orlando in time for a custody hearing. Another was rushing to get home for a college final, while another was going to tour their dream school. There was even a farming influencer scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at an event in Knoxville.
Some of the group was just along for the ride!
Although some of the passengers were skeptical at first, the group ultimately realized they had strength in numbers.
“If I thought that this was crazy, I knew other people might think it’s crazy also,” Story said to CNN. “And so I just figured, this is a very unique bunch of people, we’re all very different. So I don’t know, maybe other people would want to see it too, because things like this just don’t happen on the regular.”
The group hits the road
Another passenger, Michelle, said, “Thirteen of us plus luggage, it fit perfectly. And we all just climbed aboard, and we’re on our way.” Three hours into the road trip, the group stopped for gas, prompting Story to post a follow-up TikTok about everyone’s experience. This time around, the passengers referred to themselves as a number between 1 and 13.
Number 1, Carlos, drove the group up to Knoxville with the other 12 passengers in tow. By the time they’d reached their first stop in Georgia, it became abundantly clear just how tired many of them were. “I’m really tired. I kinda wish I was in my bed,” said Number 6, the young student visiting the University of Tennessee.
By the next morning, Story had thousands of people waiting on bated breath to see if they arrived at their various destinations on time. “We were just reading the comments from people and we were laughing and we didn’t expect this. It was like one million views after a few hours,” said one of the riders. “We were like, ‘What is going on?'”
Commenters began creating backstories for each of the passengers. They even singled out two of the travelers, coming from Mexico, as “Russian spies.”
The road trip ends as the mismatched gang makes it to Knoxville
Thankfully, the travelers made it to Knoxville by 8:30 the next morning. Everybody in the van made it where they needed to be when they needed to be there. The keynote speaker for the farming convention ended up going to the convention with two other passengers who were on their way there, too.
The group plans to stay in touch after sharing such a once-in-a-lifetime road trip experience. “I feel like this situation for me specifically kind of restored my trust and humanity a little bit,” Story said. “We all were so different. And I think a big part of why people like it so much is because you could literally see our differences in real time.”
“We were like a big dysfunctional family,” added another passenger named Michelle. “It was fun.”