What happens when a group of Newfoundlanders find themselves waiting for an unexpectedly delayed flight?
Break out into song, of course.
On Tuesday night, a departure gate at Toronto Pearson International Airport turned into an impromptu party when two musicians en route to St. John’s led the waiting passengers in a rousing set of East Coast tunes.
Michelle Sacrey Philpott was on her way back home to Newfoundland with her husband after a trip to Cancun, when she arrived at the gate. At that point, the WestJet flight was still on time and the crowd had already been singing along with the two musicians, who were playing an accordion and a guitar.
“People were dancing and clapping. We were having a good time, Newfoundland wholesome time,” she said. “They put the instruments away and everyone thanked them.”
But then, the ominous message from the WestJet staff.
“She said, ‘Sorry folks, we have some bad news,’” Sacrey Philpott said. “The plane was delayed for another 30 minutes.”
Undeterred, the musicians simply took their instruments back out and the crowd resumed their makeshift kitchen party.
“Well, with that, everyone cheered and they said, ‘All right, let’s go again!’ and we just started again,” she said.
“If that flight had been delayed two, three, four hours, that kitchen party would have continued on.”
Sacrey Philpott took several videos of the passengers, young and old, belting out some well-known Newfoundland songs. Strangers became friends and it appeared many knew the lyrics.
“I looked around and everyone had a different expression,” she said. “You see people laughing, you see tears in people’s eyes. It was a homesick sad.”
As the flight boarded, people stopped to thank the two musicians. Sacrey Philpott posted her videos on Facebook and settled into the flight.
It was only when the plane landed, that she realized how much that little airport gate kitchen party had resonated with people.
“When we were coming down the escalator, oh the buzz in the (St. John’s) airport. It was all anyone was talking about,” she said.
The videos had already been viewed 112,000 times at that point. The views have only racked up since then.
Sacrey Philott, who is a travel agent and has naturally flown a lot, says it’s clear why the videos struck a chord with so many.
“Music is such a big part of Newfoundland culture and heritage,” she said.
“I’ve seen a lot of cool things in the airport, but I think this is by far the best.”