In Case You Missed It: Generational Blizzard Leads to International Camaraderie


A group of South Korean tourists raising their glasses after breaking down in front of Alex Campagna's house in Williamsvile
Alex Campagna, and his wife Andrea host a group of 10 South Korean tourists following a bus breakdown outside their home in Williamsville. (Courtesy of NYTimes.com)

A random knock on the door during a generational blizzard led to a handful of unexpected friendships and a special dinner over the Christmas holiday. The international bonds formed on Christmas Eve when a Williamsville couple opened their door to help a tourist group whose bus got stuck in the swirling snow in front of their house.

According to the New York Times, Alexander Campagna and his wife, Andrea, bunkered down to ride out the blizzard that rendered roads throughout Western New York undrivable. That’s when two men showed up at their door asking for a shovel.

A bus carrying 10 tourists, mostly from South Korea, was headed to Niagara Falls following stops in New York City and Washington, D.C.  Realizing it was not a typical winter storm, the Campagnas offered the group of seven men and three women the comfort of their home to ride out the storm.

To the visitors’ surprise, their hosts had all the ingredients required to whip up an authentic Korean dinner, including dakdoritang, a spicy chicken stew made with ginger and hot peppers.

Yoseb Choi, 27, from Pyeongtaek, was part of the charter. He claimed the unexpected delay provided additional value to the trip after experiencing a “warm welcome from real Americans.” The Campagnas also found inspiration after the unlikely encounter; they plan to visit South Korea.

After two days of camaraderie, the tourists returned to New York City, where most flew back to South Korea. But the holiday weekend illustrated the value that opening the door to new people, experiences, and cultures can offer.

You don’t have to take in snowbound tourists to do good in the world, click here for information on how to volunteer for IIB.