After a two-week Las Vegas vacation this month, Lesley Watson and her family hit a snag as they attempted to fly back to their native Scotland. When they tried to change planes at Newark’s Liberty International Airport, they wound up among the millions of travelers left grounded after the volcanic eruption in Iceland canceled flights across the globe. But instead of spending days sleeping on airport couches, the Scottish family clan spent nine days in the sprawling suburb of Edison. Watson and her family stayed, free of charge, at the home of a hospitable Edison school board candidate who took the foursome in after a chance meeting in a supermarket while she was on the campaign trail.

… On April 14 Watson and her family — daughter Lauren Kyle and parents Jimmy and Nan Marshall — were a half-hour from leaving when their flight to Glasgow was canceled. The family got a voucher for a night at an airport hotel and booked a flight for April 16. But after sitting on the plane for more than two hours, an airline representative made an announcement. They weren’t leaving. The family got another hotel voucher. But 75-year-old Nan didn’t have her diabetes medicine. So the family visited a grocery store next to the hotel, searching for a pharmacy. On the way out the door, they were greeted by Ward, a school board candidate who was handing out fliers. When they shared their story Ward put them up in the two bedrooms of her home. She also paid for Nan’s prescription. Neighbors and friends cooked the family dinner, while Ward took them on a tour of central New Jersey.

… The family’s flight was finally scheduled to leave Monday night. Many airlines have started clearing travel back to Europe this week, and Watson’s family was booked on a 7:40 p.m. flight.

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