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Stranded in Buffalo, Korean tourists find a delicious solution


Buffalo residents are still dealing with the aftermath of one of the worst blizzards of all time. Alexander Campagna and his wife, Andrea, had planned for a quiet Christmas weekend of family, football and food. Then, just after 2 p.m., they heard a knock on their door.

ALEXANDER CAMPAGNA: We answered the door, and there were two men covered in snow already from head to foot. And they said, our vehicle is stuck. Could we borrow some shovels?

NADWORNY: We read about their story in The New York Times and had to find out more. The two men at the door were part of a nine-person tour group from South Korea on their way to visit Niagara Falls. The group wasn't planning to be in Buffalo for long.

CAMPAGNA: When I met them outside, I realized I was getting coated from head to toe in snow. It was that thick and coming down that heavy that I said, guys, guys, this is not going to happen.

NADWORNY: They wouldn't be driving anywhere anytime soon.

YOSEB CHOI: We tried to call the towing company and even called a police station and fire station. We couldn't get help from them 'cause of the very bad snowstorm.

NADWORNY: Yoseb Choi and his wife, Claire, were part of that tour group. Now, they realized they'd be spending their honeymoon at the Campagnas, along with their fellow travelers.

CHOI: We felt really grateful that, you know, Alex and Andrea welcomed with a towel and hot coffee. And they tried to make us feel comfortable and relaxed, even in that situation.

NADWORNY: Choi wanted to find a way to thank their hosts for taking them in. And to their surprise...

CHOI: We found out that, you know, Alex and Andrea had the first date in Korean restaurant. So we tried to do some good cooking for Alex and Andrea. So I felt like, you know, this meeting was, like, fate.

NADWORNY: Their kitchen was already stocked with Korean staples, like red pepper paste, sesame oil and kimchi, so they all spent Christmas weekend cooking and eating together.

CAMPAGNA: We were all enjoying a great meal Friday night, a chicken stir-fry dish, and on Saturday a pork stew. Both were absolutely delicious. It really did feel like it was meant to be.

NADWORNY: While this sounds like an incredible act of generosity, Alex and his wife say they did nothing special.

CAMPAGNA: I'm convinced - and my wife would say the same thing - that, when faced with sudden emergency situations, that human beings across the world all share that instinct to jump into action because we're all human beings fueled by compassion and empathy. And we want to help rescue people, help people, especially if they're in immediate danger.

NADWORNY: For Choi, his weekend at the Campagnas has left a lasting impact.

CHOI: So I really felt, you know, ah, OK, like, I also have to learn this, you know, kindness that I can offer to other people in South Korea, too, or anywhere I go. Alex and Andrea made our honeymoon really, really memorable and great. And especially, my Christmas was the best Christmas ever yet.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.