They would have been in the midst of a relaxing vacation to mark their 20th anniversary, if not for Veronica and Bill Adams’ plane touching down in Houston.
The Brandon couple landed in the hurricane Harvey-hit city en route to Costa Rica on Saturday afternoon, arriving at an airport that aside from the odd staff member appeared like "a ghost town."
With all their flights cancelled for the night, Veronica said they gave up on the idea of departing and checked into a hotel for what proved a sleepless night.
The most wicked thunderstorm Veronica said she has ever experienced kept them awake throughout the night.
They gave up on sleeping by 2:30 a.m. in order to catch a ride in a four-wheel-drive truck back to the airport, where they’d learned that a flight to Atlanta had opened up.
This effort was cut short when the driver failed to make his way through the rapidly-rising floodwater, which forced him to turn around and drive back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, Veronica said they watched the floodwater rise by at least three feet between 2:30 a.m. and approximately 7 a.m.
They continued watching floodwater rise throughout the day, during which floodwater began spilling into their ground-level unit, forcing them to change rooms.
They relocated to the third floor, which Veronica said they felt was a bit safer.
Told to stay where they were, Veronica said when the chance to attempt catching another flight came up, they jumped at it and piled into another four-wheel drive on Monday morning.
This time around, they made it all the way to the airport, where they spent a few hours lined up to catch a humanitarian flight to Detroit, which by early afternoon they successfully boarded.
With subsequent flights to Costa Rica cancelled, Veronica said that they’d resolved to give up on the vacation and return home to Brandon.
Although it wasn’t the vacation — their long overdue honeymoon — they had dreamed of, and certainly didn’t lessen their stress levels as any good vacation should, Veronica said that it had certainly been memorable.
Set to begin work as vice-principal of Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School next week after serving several years with École Secondaire Neelin High School, Veronica will have an inspirational message to share with students.
Although the natural disaster presented many challenges to those in Houston, countless numbers of people stepped up to help out wherever possible, including the two drivers who tried to help the Adams get to the airport and the various Good Samaritans they found floating about in inflatable rafts to visit people.
At one restaurant early on during their time in Houston, Veronica said one waitress was left all alone, running her feet off to be as helpful as possible to patrons.
The Adams also lent a hand during their time in Houston by sharing food with others, including a small dog they found struggling outside in the elements, offering their fuzzy friend a short reprise from the hurricane.
Through it all, Veronica said she recognizes that many others were much more severely impacted by the hurricane than they were over the weekend, adding, "We’ve been safe and warm."
The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the Hurricane Harvey Appeal being undertaken with its American sister organization, and is collecting funds online at redcross.ca to help people recover from the disaster.