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Memorial Day weekend brings high number of travelers, great reunion stories

In the midst of the busiest travel weekend since Christmas 2019, are great stories of heartfelt reunions among loved ones after more than a year of COVID-19.

ATLANTA — It's the busiest travel weekend since Christmas 2019. About 1.5 million travelers are expected to fly through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from this past Wednesday until Monday.

And 250,000 of those were expected solely on Friday, which the airport expected to be the busiest day of all. Amidst all the traveling are great stories of heartfelt reunions among loved ones.

That's where 11Alive's Paola Suro found Army Veteran Robin Jones, who was on her way home to Chicago from West Palm Beach and decided to take a 2-hour layover option to see her daughter Alexis and granddaughter Kemiyah.

"Being able to sit here for two hours now ... this is so precious. Time is precious," Robin said. "I think we should make the most of every moment."

They sipped on their Starbucks and caught up. The last time the three generations had been together was Christmas, but this is the first time Robin has flown during the pandemic. Prior to Christmas, they had not seen each other in a year.

Credit: Provided
Alexis (left), Kemiyah (middle) and Robin (right).

"Just being honest, I was hesitant about going but then I thought about it," she said. "Certainly, I wouldn't travel had I not been vaccinated but kudos who have traveled with me in this journey in my vacation because everybody was in compliance, everybody was happy."

Including 11-year-old Kemiyah.

"I like seeing my grammy a lot because she's my grammy," she said. "We had fun. The two hours ... it wasn't enough but it was worth it!"

Robin said their family has a goal to all be vaccinated soon in an effort to make seeing each other easier. Being vaccinated and seeing her family is what she said helped her get on the flights this week.

"We've had a loss during this year ... any loss is substantial. However, we realized the importance of getting vaccinated," she said.

Credit: Provided
Robin and her family

Robin joined the Army in 1995 and retired in 2009. She enjoys spending time with family, which is why she decided to take the pitstop in Atlanta instead of buying a direct flight.

"It's been a really rough time but I think we're America and we're resilient and families are family and I think we realize the importance of every minute, every hour, every day," she added. "I think we're in a good place. Better coming out of it than how we went in it."

It was a sign of hope during this Memorial Day weekend, after a year of not seeing family and after a year of difficult goodbyes.

"Just blessed," said Robin's daughter, Alexis Olive. "A lot of families are not able to travel right now because of existing health problems and things like that so it's pretty good that she was able to make it safe and have these couple of hours and send her on safely."


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