‘We were a very eclectic group’: Indy surgeon helps stranded passengers get back home

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis trauma surgeon helped a few fellow stranded passengers get back to Indy after a flight delay.

Dr. Jennifer Hartwell, a trauma surgeon with IU Health Methodist Hospital, learned her connecting flight in Detroit was going to be delayed Friday night.

Hartwell was determined to get home before the weekend’s projected snowstorm hit. She had her husband book her a rental car and asked the flight attendant to see if any other passengers would want to drive back with her.

Three other travelers took her up on the offer and they carpooled back to Indianapolis from Detroit, driving through the night to get to Indy.

One of the women in the group was especially grateful—she needed to get back for her brother’s memorial service and would’ve missed it without the carpool.

“I got out of the car to shake hands with this girl’s dad and he just started crying and gave me this big hug and was like, ‘Thank you so much for getting my daughter to me tonight, this is so amazing, thank you that she's safe,’” Hartwell said.

“That was a super amazing feeling to realize in the end just how meaningful it was to give somebody a ride.”

The idea to get back home started as something selfish, Hartwell conceded.

“It really didn’t feel like that big of a deal to me. I knew I wanted to get home, I was just being selfish. I just wanted to get home and sleep in my bed.”

But in the end, it turned out to be something more.

“We were a very eclectic group, different ages and backgrounds and it was fun.”

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