The Kindness of Strangers…My Alberta Weekend Getaway

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I was heading to Alberta for a relaxing girls weekend getaway.  Now while I did go away with my girls, a series of unfortunate events kinda got rid of the whole relaxing part of things.

We started off well with The Calgary portion of the trip.  Yummy food, good….yummy wine, good…laughing, shopping, and being with two of my besties, good good and good.  Then we headed to Banff and our trip quickly changed.  It all went down hill when our car broke down at the Banff National Park toll gate.

I should first let you all know that this weekend was also a bit of a rescue mission for my one girlfriend.  She is going through a time of major change which has been hard.  We were getting together to do what we do best…be there for each other.  The amazing thing that happened during our weekend was that everytime we needed help, some kind stranger was there for us.

So now, back to the toll gate.  There we are blocking the only open toll gate with our car broken down.  Out jump me and my girlfriend Jane to push the car while Hilary steers, and then the toll guy jumped out of the booth to help as well as a kind stranger.  This kind stranger proceeded to look under our hood, help us get the car started again, and then follow us in to Banff to make sure we made it in ok.  With a thumbs up from us and a peace sign from this amazing family from Ontario, we parted ways.   Unfortunatly as we rolled in to Banff the car stalled again and this was a pattern all the way to the hotel.

Once we got to the hotel, we got on the phone with our new best friend, Mark, from Volkswagen road side assistance in Ontario.  He helped us through all the stress of being stranded and even listened to my poor friend while she cried (not just from the stress of the broken down car, but about all the other stress in her life that was causing her to crack now).  As our good friend Eric the consierge put it….”It’s kind of the straw that broke the camels back huh?”.  So true Eric…so true.

After a little emotional breakdown in the lobby by my girlfriend, and the oh-so-sweet front desk girls lending a listening ear, we freshened up and went out for a lovely dinner and drinks that night.

The next morning.  No rental cars to speak of…no mechanics either.  We decided to wait out hearing if a car gets returned to the rental place by going to the pool and spa.  Just as we get our bathing suits on the fire alarms go off in the hotel and we have to get out.  We wait it out in the rain (in our jeans and bathing suits) for about half an hour.

At this point we we started to find the whole thing pretty funny.  How can this many things can go wrong in less than 24 hours?  Our good friend Eric came out and told us we were good to go back into the hotel.  So we requested a late check out and decided we could still get in a steam at the spa.  Eric was walking behind us and heard our plan.  He then told us it wouldn’t be possible for us to do that as the steam room had j

ust blown up, and that was the cause for the fire alarm.  Well that was it.  We started laughing so hard we could barely breath!  I mean…seriously?  The spa has now blown up???

So with that we got ready to go.  Got a good news phone call from the lovely girl at the car rental place (who stayed an extra half hour to accomodate us).  So with our hands on keys to a rental car and Hilary’s car being hooked up to a tow truck to Calgary, we decided it would be best to head back to Calgary ourselves and call Banff a bust.

The best part of our trip (other than us three girls being together), were all the amazing people who took the time to help us.  With the recent riots in Vancouver you begin to think the worst about humanity.  But, when Vancouverites came out the next day to volunteer to clean up the city, it goes to show that the kindness of strangers is a powerful thing and can be the rainbow at the end of a storm.

My girlfriend Hilary snapped this pic on her way back to Edmonton.

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  • Reply
    Liane Cunningham
    June 23, 2011 at 9:45 am

    It is so refreshing to hear of such thoughtful and kind people. It is surely a weekend you won’t forget.
    I think of Hilary every day and know she will make it out of this.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for summing it up Jen. It made for a good story! And we will have to have a “do over” weekend but let’s pick a new location!!

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