Stranded Family Rescued by Private Jet
January 7, 2014
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  • Jen Maxfield’s family vacation to Miami was great until it was time to get home.

    They waited at the Fort Lauderdale airport for seven hours Saturday, only to be told that they couldn’t get a flight to New Jersey until Wednesday.

    “Our kids had to be in school. We had to be at work,” said Maxfield, a former Syracuse TV reporter, who is now a reporter for WNBC in New York City.

    So Maxfield and her husband, Scott, rented a car and started driving with their three kids — 3, 5 and 7 — to Charleston, S.C., where they thought they could get a flight.

    She posted a frustrated account on her Facebook page:

    Vacation is officially over! Now we just need to get home. Jet Blue kept us waiting for SIX HOURS in the Fort Lauderdale airport today before deciding to cancel our flight. Next available flight– Wednesday. Charleston, South Carolina, here we come! Hoping for better luck with Delta tomorrow. In the meantime, my husband and I will split driving the 550 miles and hope that our 3 kids enjoy the impromptu road trip. I thought we were lucky to avoid the snowstorm in NJ but now I’m not so sure…

    When Maxfield woke up Sunday morning in a Savannah, Ga., hotel room, the plan was to drive to the Charleston airport for an afternoon flight.

    But she found a text on her phone: “if you guys are stuck I can send jet to bring you home in morning. Let me know.”

    It was from Adam Weitsman, one of Maxfield’s more than 4,000 friends on Facebook. Weitsman had seen Maxfield’s travel fiasco post, she said, and sent her the text.

    Weitsman owns Upstate Shredding, which has a location in Solvay, and he and his wife have a $30 million home in Skaneateles.They are also in the process of renovating the former Krebs restaurant in Skaneateles.

    Weitsman declined to discuss the jet rescue.

    Maxfield was floored by his generosity. At first, she and her husband took a pass. But then the flight they had hoped to get on in Charleston was canceled, too. So they took Weitsman up on the offer.

    Through Facebook, Weitsman offered a ride to anyone else also stuck in the area:

    “I have 5 empty seats if ANYONE is stranded there and needs a free ride back home, please let me know. I know how it SUCKS to be stranded. Thanks to Facebook I knew about my friends predicament so I could help !”

    Maxfield offered to pay for the flight, but Weitsman refused to let her. She and her husband are planning to make a donation to a charity in Weitsman’s hometown of Owego in his name.

    “It was such a mitzvah,” Maxfield said. “He saw a problem. He knew he could solve it.”

    She said she and Weitsman first became friends when she worked as a news reporter in Binghamton. She hasn’t seen him since 2006. The two exchange a few messages a year.

    “It was a fairy tale ending to a nightmarish situation,” Maxfield said.

    Maxfield’s family left the airport in Charleston just before 5 p.m. Sunday. Instead of driving hundreds of miles, they made it to their house in New Jersey by 7:30 p.m.

    “In time for bed,” Maxfield said.