After a lengthy day of traveling from London to New York, Daniel Bramah, ‘23, stepped off his plane and checked his phone to see messages from his parents.
While his mother was initially stressed about how he would get from the airport to Lehigh due to a change in flight scheduling, she said she had found a solution — two mothers of fellow Lehigh students would drive him back to school.
The two moms, Dori Olson and Jennifer Allen-Nuzzi, helped Bramah travel from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Lehigh’s campus.
Upon arriving at the airport in London, Bramah was required to take a COVID-19 test to abide by U.S. travel guidelines requiring a negative COVID-19 test once arriving into the country.
Bramah was informed that the results would take 40 minutes to return — plenty of time to make his flight to Philadelphia.
However, the results took 70 minutes to return, causing Bramah to miss his flight. To get to Lehigh, Bramah had to book a flight to New York, disrupting his initial arrangements for travel from the airport to Lehigh.
Daniel’s mother, Sara Taylor Bramah, posted on the Lehigh University Parents and Families Facebook page from the United Kingdom asking for recommendations from parents as to how Daniel could get back to campus safely.
Olson and Allen-Nuzzi said that after reading the post, they connected with the worried mother’s situation and wanted to help.
“It was just a mom that needed help and was worried about her kid, and us all being moms thinking ‘yeah, let’s figure out how to get him here,’” Allen-Nuzzi said.
After discussing amongst the three of them in a Facebook private message, Olson and Allen-Nuzzi decided that Allen-Nuzzi would drive Daniel from the airport to meet Olson at Exit 33 on Interstate 78, where she would drive him back to Lehigh.
“The funny thing is my mom didn’t even post asking for someone to drive me,” Daniel said. “She just posted saying, ‘How do I get from JFK to New Jersey?’ This was the (other) moms’ idea.”
Due to tropical storm Henri hitting the East Coast, Allen-Nuzzi said she endured high winds, heavy rain and flooding while driving to the airport.
However, she said that the poor weather only encouraged her to help Daniel, as the damage caused by the storm could have stranded him for days.
“I just kept thinking, ‘What if that was my kid in that airport?’” Allen-Nuzzi said.
The pair made it safely to Exit 33, where Olson helped Daniel complete his journey to Lehigh. Olson said she could tell he was extremely grateful for the ride and eager to return to school.
“When we got to Bethlehem, you could see his energy change,” Olson said. “He got excited.”
After a long day of travel, Olson finally dropped Daniel off at his fraternity house, where he reconnected with friends and she returned home.
When reflecting on their experience, both Olson and Allen-Nuzzi said their actions were something any parent would have done.
Living only about an hour from Lehigh, Olson said she often reaches out to parents of students coming from far away, reassuring them that she is available to help if their child is in need and they are unable to get to them.
Allen-Nuzzi reciprocated a similar sentiment, saying that this altruism present within the Lehigh community makes it unique.
“It’s the community that we really do have — parents looking out for all of the kids,” Allen-Nuzzi said.