Alexander and Andrea Campagna went on a 10-day all-expenses paid tour of South Korea after they helped 10 stranded South Korean travelers in December.
On Dec. 23, 2022, 10 South Korean tourists became stranded in Buffalo, New York, by a deadly blizzard — which resulted in over 22 inches of snow and 40 people dead — on their way to Niagara Falls. With their van stuck in the snow, tourist Scott Park and a tour guide knocked on the door of the Campagnas to ask for help.
“We’ve had snowstorms, but not to that extent [...] So when we heard the knock on our door, we heard the knock on our door, we wondered who would be outside in this weather,” Alex told The Korea Herald.
When Alex heard the travelers’ request for a shovel to dig their van out of the snow, he immediately thought it impossible, comparing it to “like taking a spoon to take water out of the ocean.”
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Instead, recognizing the travelers’ plight, Alex and Andrea welcomed the tourists into their home with tea, coffee, dry socks and warm blankets.
With the weather only worsening and dinner approaching, Alex presented the guests with Korean ingredients and expressed the couple’s love for Korean food.
“We were surprised to see all the Korean condiments from soy sauce and mirin to chile powder and chile paste,” Park revealed. “There was even a rice cooker and Korean cookbooks as if they had prepared all this for us.”
With the blizzard continuing for the next few days, the Korean tourists remained in the Campagna’s house until Christmas morning.
“They endured the horrible storm with us,” Andrea recounted. “When you spend time together in a disaster situation, you feel very bonded [...] When the plowers started coming, people were cheering and crying.”
The couple was surprised to see their story go viral after the heartwarming story was shared by various news outlets.
To thank the couple for their compassion and goodwill, Alex and Andrea were invited by the Korea Tourist Organization on a 10-day all-expenses-paid trip to Seoul in May.
Welcomed as heroes in the country, the couple was interviewed by the local media and participated in a promotional tourism video. Spending their time at the Seoul Four Seasons Hotel, the couple was invited to try Michelin-recommended restaurants and private tours of the capital’s most popular attractions.
During their time in the country, Alex and Andrea also met with six of the 10 South Korean tourists they hosted in their home in a tearful reunion at the traditional Korean Changdeokgung Palace.
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Speaking through an interpreter, the couple and the South Korean tourists emphasized their fateful encounter and called one another “lifelong friends.”
“We bonded so much with them,” Andrea expressed. “It was like reuniting with family.”