Minnesotans caught in the act of kindness at WE Fest
For Minnesotans, digging a stranger's car out of a snowbank is standard procedure. They would rarely second guess it.
For travellers, this may seem like some form of bribery, but it's just common behavior known to many as "Minnesota nice."
When Florida natives Christina and Tim Jolly landed in Minneapolis on their way to WE Fest, they weren't feeling very jolly after travel plans became convoluted.
The couple travelled almost 2,000 miles to see Carrie Underwood perform. "I can pretty much recite every song from start to finish and always dreamed to see her," she said.
Luckily, they were able to meet some friendly folks who helped them along their journey. Christina Jolly repeatedly asked herself, "how could someone be so nice?"
Their original plan was to rent a car and drive the three hour lag from the cities to their hotel in Detroit Lakes, but the quote for the rental was massive, likely due to the high influx of people to the area during the music festival.
To their disappointment, they instead travelled by tram, bus and train to get to Detroit Lakes.
"We finally arrived after what seemed like three days," Christina Jolly said. "...at 2:45 a.m. to find out we couldn't even get an Uber and the closest taxi was in Fargo."
They walked the two miles from the train station to their hotel, luggage and all.
That wasn't the end of their struggles.
They lacked transportation to get to Walmart to acquire camping gear for WE Fest. Even worse, they had accidentally purchased campsite access rather than an actual camp space.
Her husband got her WE Fest tickets for her 30th birthday, and her dream of seeing Underwood was about to come true, but the obstacles made her doubtful.
"We were hanging out at Lakeside Tavern where we made friends with a lady named Lori, who was an absolute gem stone," she explained.
"She offered us her own personal vehicle. Unreal to us," she said. They used Lori's vehicle to make a Walmart run and get their needed camping supplies.
Another gentleman offered them a free ride to the campgrounds.
"He was doing this just to help people out," Jolly said. "...with his cute dog I got to cuddle with on the ride there."
The moment when they finally arrived at Soo Pass Ranch for the big show is when they realized they hadn't purchased a campsite.
But again, a Minnesotan quickly came to the rescue offering an alternative.
Detroit Lakes woman Lynn Anderson offered the couple a space on her property to set up their small, two person tent so they could stay the night after seeing Carrie Underwood.
Cindy Dormanen, another WE Fest festival goer who helped them out, said, "the deputy directed them to where I camp, Lynn Anderson's campground. Lynn gave them a spot. They had a tiny tent, I've never seen that kind of tent. They were sitting there for the longest time. Finally, we said why don't we see if they want lawn chairs."
Dormanen camped near the Jollys and offered them extra blankets during rainy weather spells.
"They're fascinating people," Dormanen said. "I feel like I've known them for years."
Cindy Dormanen and fiancee Steve King later gave them a ride to the train station to send them off to their home in Tampa, Florida.
"Lynn welcomed us with open arms, and even drove us on her golf card to pick up our bags," Jolly explained. " We ended up making so many friends around the campsite that provided us with food, water, blankets, beer, and most importantly accepted us in as if we were family."
The Jollys ran into another couple who had overheard their story, particularly about Christina's obsession with Carrie Underwood and the hurdles they faced on their vacation.
It inspired them to offer up their silver concert tickets to the Jollys that allowed them to sit much closer to the stage, right behind the VIP section.
Jolly said she had tears fill her eyes due to excitement and disbelief at the genuine thoughtfulness and caring that they had been showered with.
"We plan to visit yearly and visit our friends we made and will have for a lifetime," she said.