On Saturday, 17th April, we arrived in Maspeth as ‘Volcano refugees’ after having a week with our wonderful friends in San Antonio, Texas and then cruising on the Carnival Liberty.
Over the previous two weeks we had experienced such help and the usual American friendliness until after flying in from Miami we landed at LaGuardia, where our faith in human kindness took a knock. The American Airlines ground staff knew our situation but were less than helpful and plain rude; we were told it was ‘an Act of God’ and we had to find our own hotels.
After phoning around the only accommodation was at the Holiday Inn and that is how we ended up in Maspeth, with eight of us sharing two rooms. We were tired, shattered and with only the promise of a flight home the following week, 26th April, were worried about our business and missed work and pay back home.
We now realise that we were very fortunate in finding your area. We had no car but still we felt safe and happy to walk around even in the evenings and it was evident from these walks that your community suffered great loss in the 9/11 disaster.
So through your newspaper would you please say ‘THANK YOU,’ to Dr Laud for helping my husband with a diabetic prescription and his receptionist Annie, the pharmacy next door, the staff at O’Neill's pub, the staff at the Launderette for their helpfulness, the helpful staff and drivers at Comfort Inn (who thankfully found us three rooms for a further seven nights), the people on the street who provided us with advice and directions when we were lost and the local supermarkets.
Most of all we would like to thank Patrick Connolly and his wife at Connolly’s Corner, their great staff, wonderful food, warm welcome and also much needed humour from his regulars – you are all very special people and made a lasting impression especially on our grandchildren.
Also whilst on the Staten Island ferry we were talking to a fireman on his way to work, he kindly walked with us for a while and pointed us to the 9/11 Memorial, then handed his Metrocard to my son and his wife as he no longer needed it that week, unfortunately we never took his name. We now know that your Firemen are a breed apart!
So again thank you Maspeth, we are now back home much lighter in pocket, as our insurances are only paying out minimum amounts, but richer in memories and our faith in human nature restored.
The Wilkinson Family: Marlene, Mike, Keith, Jean, Paige, Mark, Ian and Hilary.
Cinderford, The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England.