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Letter: How a stranger at the ferry terminal helped me finally hug my parents after nearly three years apart

Megan McIntosh had been travelling for nearly four days to make it home to her parents in time for Christmas but when she got to Langdale, there were no taxis to be seen
Two women hugging


Like many of us, I’ve stayed close to home for the last two years. The trouble is my home is now more than 13,000 kilometres away from my family in Canada. I moved to Australia for work in 2018, when I could assure myself that I was only a flight away from loved ones. Today, travel is largely an exercise of wishful thinking.  

But, I was determined to see my family in 2021. I booked a flight to Vancouver and knowing the challenges ahead, made it a surprise and told no one in Canada.  

I flew from Melbourne via Hong Kong to Vancouver and made my way to Horseshoe Bay. The journey was more than 30 hours travelling, two days in isolation, three COVID-19 tests in 48 hours, to finally board the Queen of Coquitlam. I was not light on luggage and was suffering from jet lag. At Langdale, all of the taxis had left with passengers and were in Sechelt. Half an hour now seemed very long to finally surprise my parents, only 6.5 kilometres away.  

Then, a car pulled up to drop a passenger and the driver, Marianne, inquired if someone was late to retrieve me. I told her my story and without skipping a beat, Marianne loaded my luggage and took me home. She waited until Mom and Dad answered the door and drove away without a word as my parents and I cried like families do after nearly three years apart. I got eight perfect days with my family. 

My mom has since found Marianne through social media to send her a big, belated thank you.

Here’s to a 2022 that I hope is marked by reunions for all of us with the people we have missed and gratitude for those who have helped us in the strange times that have marred the last two years. I’m more grateful that I can say that I was able to hug my parents in 2021. 

Megan McIntosh, Melbourne