A funny thing happened on the way to Kimberley. James ‘Archie’ Archibald was on his way home from Honduras last week, with a stop-over in Miami and a change of aircraft in Dallas Fort Worth for the flight to Calgary. Unfortunately, Archie hit Dallas at about the same time as a major ice storm.
His flight was delayed. And delayed again. The ice had proved too much for Dallas Fort Worth and the airport essentially shut down, stranding thousands, including Archie.
Passengers with nowhere to go were issued cots and blankets from the American Red Cross.
Archie bunked down with fellow passengers at their gate — D21 — which they promptly dubbed Shantytown D21.
At first, there was hope that aircraft would be moving again the next day. That hope prove false and as it began to look like it would be a long delay, Archie began to look for something to do to relieve the boredom.
He’d picked up a brand new video camera going through Miami and decided to document his stay at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
“I didn’t know how long I’d be there so I decided to make the best of it,” Archie said. “The spirit at the airport was going down by the hour, so I did what I could to lighten it up.”
And he did. He interviewed people and asked where they were from and where they were going, and chronicled the frustrations and occasional funny moments at the airport. Then he posted the videos to YouTube.
Within two hours of his first post, he had been contacted by NBC News. Then CNN. He did interviews with both. Then he was contacted by ABC to see if he’d contribute to an upcoming 20 20 segment on airport delays.
His videos from the airport were gaining a lot of attention. You can view them here.
Even airport officials noticed. The fourth morning after Archie had posted the video showing the D21 Shantytown, an airport official came down and offered Archie and all his fellow residents at the gate an opportunity for hot showers and a day in the VIP lounge.
“Anyone in our group was offered this,” Archie said. “He told them to ‘tell me you’re with the Arch group’. He also asked me not to post it on YouTube or he’d have the entire airport asking for hot showers.”
In the end, Archie spent four days and three nights in Shantytown D21, frustrating stretch of time that did give him an unexpected 15 minutes of fame and some new friends.
Nevertheless, he kissed the ground when he stepped off his flight at Canadian Rockies International Airport.
“I am so glad to be home,” he said.