Mom saves the day for Newman mission trip travelers

Jun 13, 2019
6 students in line at Dallas airport on their way to Guatemala.

Every other year, a group of students embark on the Guatemala Study and Serve mission trip. However, without the help from one mom, six students would have missed out on part of the journey.

When Wendy Conrad, mother of student Madelyn Conrad, heard about a canceled flight that would have kept the students from arriving on time, she took action.

Conrad had worked for an airline company before and knew that another flight would not be a viable option. She checked with other airlines, all of which had canceled flights.

“The best option we could think of was getting the girls loaded into a car and get to Dallas to catch their original flight to Guatemala,” she stated.

Gabrielle Altenor was one of the students affected by the flight cancellation. “It actually was quite a stressful night for the entire Wichita group,” she said. “We were all getting notifications by email and phone that our flight had been delayed and eventually canceled. We tried to reschedule at home, but nobody wanted to make a decision without consulting everyone else, so we all decided it’d be best to go to the airport early and choose a new flight. When I arrived, Mrs. Conrad had already gone to rent a van.”

Conrad was not the only parent that stepped up to help. In fact, it was a team effort, she said.

Ashley Lindstrom stated her father was also prepared to drive them all to Dallas himself. Others helped out with navigation even after they were on the road.

Picture of the van packed and on the road to Dallas.
The group on their impromptu car trip to the Dallas airport; all seats filled and luggage stacked between them.

“I would really like to thank the dads that helped pack the van up,” said Conrad. “According to the girls, the dads were Tetris champs. We rented a mini-van that seated seven passengers, which there were six students and me, so all the seats were filled. 

“We also had six 50-pound suitcases, six carry-on bags and six overstuffed backpacks to find spots for. Thank heavens for stow-and-go. Our van was loaded down and Dallas bound; not knowing the current weather we were headed into and knowing more storms were predicted.”

Conrad had her passengers monitoring the weather and road closures during the drive to Dallas, and as a team, they made it to the airport on time. Altenor and Lindstrom were both happy to report everything worked out in the end.

“If Mrs. Conrad had not stepped up, we would have missed out on so much culture and opportunity,” Altenor added. “In just the two days we would have missed because of the flight cancellation, we toured the city, visited the National Palace, enjoyed Guatemalan dishes and specialties, learned at the museo del tren (train museum) … and visited the city cathedral.”

Conrad added, “Ultimately I wanted to see the girls make it to Guatemala on time. I wasn’t trying to be super-mom — I was just trying to get these kids to their flight. It was my experience [that] told me to get them to Dallas where they had a much better shot of heading to their summer adventure in Guatemala.”