Kingstonians bring holiday magic to stranded first-year student

Student gets stuck in Kingston for Christmas

Image by: Herbert Wang
Poor weather conditions kept Emma Lucas from making it home.

In the midst of the snowstorm that hit large parts of Ontario in late December, Emma Lucas, HealthSci ’26, from Newfoundland and Labrador, was stranded in Kingston for the holidays.

What followed for Lucas was heartfelt deliveries and support from strangers over social media when she was miles away from home.

Tammy Mason, Lucas’s mother, spoke to her experience dealing with her daughter’s absence during the holiday season. She said her daughter had been excited to travel back home for Christmas.

Lucas and her cat spent two days stranded at Pearson Airport in Toronto. Her airline delayed her flight four times before cancelling the flight. After the cancellation, she returned to her “lonely” apartment in Kingston—stranded on Christmas Eve.

“She was exhausted, deflated, and disappointed. At this point, we knew she could not make it home for Christmas,” Mason said in a statement to The Journal.

Mason explained, as a mom, she needed to cheer her daughter up.

“Emma lives alone in her own apartment [and] any social connections she made throughout the semester were no longer in [Kingston]. I didn’t have any connections in Kingston either.”

To create some holiday magic for her daughter, Mason reached out to the Kingston Community group on Facebook, asking the public to spread some cheer to “a stranded student this Christmas.” She received over 100 comments on her post.

“Emma’s first [Christmas] as a Queen’s student in a new city alone [was] a magical and heartfelt one,” Mason said. “Kingston, you truly are such a kind, genuine and caring city. As a parent, I feel very blessed my daughter lives and studies there.”

Lucas expressed her disappointment about not getting home in time for the holidays.

“I had been totally exhausted after the lengthy and trying airport experience. I didn’t expect to celebrate Christmas in any shape or form without my family,” she said in a statement to The Journal.

On Christmas Eve, Lucas fell asleep after getting back to her Kingston apartment. When she woke up, Mason called her on FaceTime and said Christmas dinner was “en route.”

After that, the door-knocking started and basically didn’t stop from Christmas Day until Boxing Day, Lucas explained.

“Total strangers with cheerful smiles dropp[ed] by to wish me a Merry Christmas and to offer gifts of kindness. I had so much food. My empty fridge was filled with delicious dinners, desserts, and treats.”

The delivers didn’t stop at food: Lucas also received decorations, bath bombs, perfumes, useful gifts for school, and handcrafted items.

“It was endless, heartfelt deliveries,” she said. “I felt connected and not isolated anymore. It made me see the good in my community. I’m so grateful and humbled by Kingston’s kindness. Thank you for making this Christmas one to always cherish and remember.”

Kingstonian Wendy Harris brought gifts and food to Lucas.

“When I saw the message from a mother asking for local Kingstonians to help her daughter […] with a meal, decorations, or little gifts to help her get into the Christmas spirit after she was unable to travel home […] I immediately messaged her,” Harris said in a statement to The Journal.

Harris said she brought Emma a plate of food from her own dinner, a small gift she donated from her business Thirty-One Gifts, and some other snacks she picked up.

“I just think we need to show kindness and help when and where we can. It’s what I do.”


Christmas, first year, Food, Holidays, Kindness, Kingston, Stranded, Townie, VIA Rail

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