ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – 93-year-old local snowbird James Murphy was one of the many motorists stranded along I-95 in Virginia last week during a snowstorm. But, with the help of a representative from AAA Hudson Valley, as well as others on the ground in Virginia, he was able to get to his hotel after 17 hours on the highway.
“We ran into a travel nightmare last week, that’s kinda the understatement of the year,” said Murphy’s daughter Kathleen.
Murphy, who snowbirds in Florida each year, was traveling alone from Albany, a drive that typically takes a few days. But, once he got south of Washington, D.C., he ran into issues.
“I was talking to him, he said I’m not moving. Usually not moving, when we say not moving, it means, well sort of moving. He was not moving, he did not move one inch for around 17 hours,” his daughter explained.
Kathleen says her dad slept in his car overnight on 95. The next morning, authorities were able to get him and other motorists off the highway. She then frantically attempted to find him a hotel room, hoping to avoid having him sleep in his car another night, eventually getting in touch with Angela Stott from AAA Hudson Valley.
“Angela is a remarkable human being,” she said.
“First thought was, what if it was my father lost down there?” said Stott, who is the Albany Branch Manager for AAA Hudson Valley.
Stott began working with a colleague, a AAA travel agent, to find an available hotel, with many in the immediate area of 95 being booked because the amount of stranded motorists. After finding one, she mapped out a way for him to get there with the least amount of turns.
“The easiest route to get him from where he was to where he needed to be. Even that, in unfamiliar territory after dark at night with a lot of traffic, was a challenge,” Stott explained.
Murphy eventually got to his hotel safely, setting out the next day to continue his journey to Florida, with more maps from Stott to avoid I-95, which was still experiencing weather related issues.
“I actually kept in touch with his daughter right until he made it to his destination in Florida. I just felt like I wanted to make sure he was alright,” said Stott, who hopes to meet Murphy in person when he returns to the Capital Region.
With her help, as well as others in Virginia, Murphy is safe and enjoying life in the Sunshine State.
“He’s on the golf course with a couple of his buddies, playing a couple holes of golf every day. And it’s not 19º, and he is not in his car, and he’s not running out of gas, so he’s pretty good,” his daughter explained.