5 flight cancellations and 1 week of missed classes later, Syracuse junior stuck in Houston finally gets to campus

Courtesy of Gabriel Mejia

Hurricane Harvey devastated Southern Texas after making landfall in late August, dumping about 50 inches of rain in some spots near Houston.

Five cancellations and one week of missed classes later, Syracuse University junior Gabriel Mejia has arrived back at SU from Houston.

The storm that killed dozens of people this week and displaced about a million Texans from their homes forced Mejia to miss the first week of classes. It rained up to 50 inches of water in some areas, forcing thousands of flight cancellations.

Mejia’s United Airlines flights were cancelled five times.

Mejia, a junior bioengineering major from Sugar Land, Texas, planned to fly via Houston to Syracuse last Sunday, Aug. 27. He did not touch down at Syracuse Hancock International Airport until Saturday night.

His first flight was rescheduled to Monday, only to be cancelled. His next attempt was scheduled for Thursday last week. That was cancelled, too.

All week at home, he said grocery stores were “wiped out.” He played Uno, watched “Ozark” on Netflix and waited.

On Monday, he emailed each of his five professors with the subject line “Hurricane Harvey,” explaining that he could not get to campus. He said he was excused in each case and will make up the work this week.

“Missing this week has set me behind so much,” Mejia said. “I have homework due.”

Although Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport opened Thursday for select destinations, Mejia’s flight last Friday was also cancelled. Thousands of flights have been cancelled in the Houston area.

Mejia rescheduled a flight for Sunday, which was also cancelled. He finally found a Saturday morning flight to Washington, D.C., then to Syracuse, where he arrived Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s been crazy,” Mejia said. “Getting to the airport was a challenge. A major freeway was completely underwater.”

As he drove from his home in Sugar Land to the airport, he saw flooded homes and only the hoods of cars in driveways. Mejia’s home was not flooded, but his grandfather in Alvin, Texas, which sits on the coast, was evacuated and brought to a shelter because his home was underwater.

After he landed in Syracuse, Mejia celebrated his eventful week by finally meeting up with friends.


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