Remember that scene in the classic holiday movie “Home Alone” when John Candy, aka “The Polka King,” invites Kevin’s mother to ride in his polka group’s van after she can’t get a flight home? Well, something surprisingly similar just happened to a group of strangers who are now TikTok famous.
“TODAY” reports that, on Sunday, December 4, 2022, a group of strangers were stranded at the airport in Orlando, Florida after their flight to Knoxville, Tennessee was canceled. So, this ragtag group of 13 people, including children, hopped in a van and made the 10+ hour drive together! And, of course, they were all stranded wondering what to do, until one woman came up with a plan.
Alanah Story, one of the passengers, captured the movie-like scenario on TikTok in a viral video that’s now been seen more than 3 million times.
“The line was super long. I was like, ‘I’m just gonna let my mom handle it,'” Story, who spoke with TODAY, said. “And so she yells over at me and she’s like, ‘Alanah, we’re headed downstairs to get this van with all these people!'”
The viral TikTok video starts with Story and then shows all of the passengers like they’re the cast of a strange movie. The lineup includes Story, her mother and godmother, Michelle Miller, who is an agriculture influencer better known as The Farm Babe, a family of three taking their daughter to a college visit at the University of Tennessee and two Mexico-based Europeans who became farmers.
It didn’t take long for the people of TikTok to become invested in this surprising group that came together at the 11th hour.
“3 hours in!!! update us!!!”
“Either a great horror film or Christmas movie”
“Is John Candy in the van? Along with other polka players?”
“I need details, who drove? Did the luggage fit? What was the road trip like. I need details”
Michelle Miller, who also spoke to TODAY, described the unfortunate situation they were all in. She said, “They were like, ‘Well, we can get you out on the next flight, which is Tuesday night. That’s like 48 hours later! We can’t wait two days to go back, people have things to do!”
She said that people were gathered by the customer service center until one woman, Amy, called for everyone to get together so they could make the drive to their final destination together.
Story updated her followers when the van made a pit stop and again when they reached their final destination. She said, “So we post the video and, like, we’re not really thinking anything’s gonna come of it. But within, like, 30 minutes, it is starting to get hundreds of thousands of views.”
In the following days the story just got bigger and bigger. Story says their unique situation resonated with so many because she thinks people are wanting more, “good, wholesome fun.”
“I feel like a big part of it is, because in my video, you can clearly see our differences. And, you know, I feel like we’re so divided right now and to be able to see just a ragtag group of strangers who are totally different from each other, come together and just enjoy a crazy situation together,” she added. “I feel like it resonates with a lot of people.”
“For me, it was kind of restorative,” Story said. She also added that she hopes people hear their story “maybe find a little bit more hope and humanity.”
Sounds like the Christmas movie story we didn’t know we needed.