Buffalo, NY experienced a catastrophic blizzard over the Christmas weekend that left many stranded with over 4 ft of snow and winds of up to 70 mph. While the area is no stranger to snow, getting that much snow and high winds together is unusual. A group of South Korean tourists narrowly avoided a ruined vacation because of the kindness of strangers.
On the morning of Dec. 23, the winds went within minutes from 10 miles per hour up to 70. The storm lasted four days, but the vast majority of the snow — about 36 inches out of the total 51.9 inches recorded in the region — fell Friday into Saturday morning. Traveling from Niagara Falls to Washington DC, the tour group of 10 South Koreans got stuck in the blizzard on Christmas Eve.
Two of the group went to a local house to ask for a shovel to dislodge their vehicle. Alex Campagna heard their frantic knocking on his door. Knowing it was the worst blizzard he had ever seen, he thought it would be a better idea for them to wait out the storm. He invited them all inside, putting them up on couches, air mattresses, and sleeping bags.
Eager to repay his kindness, the guests cooked several South Korean meals like jeyuk bokkeum, stir-fried pork, and dakdori tang, a spicy chicken stew. As it turns out, Campagna and his wife really like Korean food and actually happened to have some of the more extravagant ingredients on hand.
The stranded travelers stayed the night Friday and Saturday, swapping stories and watching football. On Christmas day drivers came to pick up the tour group and took them to New York for some impromptu flights. A member of the group, Choi Yoseob said “It was kind of like fate, the luck of arriving at the Campagnas’ doorstep with their fully stocked kitchen and unhesitating hospitality. He said the hosts were “the kindest people I have ever met. We have enjoyed this so much.”