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When Your Travel Plans Go Awry Ask Yourself: What Would Keanu Do?

Be excellent to your fellow traveler.

Even celebrities aren’t immune to the pernicious hand of fate throwing a wrench into their travel plans. Over the weekend, actor and widely adored Good Dude Keanu Reeves was among the passengers on a United flight that had to make an emergency landing in Bakersfield while en route to Burbank from San Francisco.

It’s exactly the sort of scenario where no one’s in the wrong but the combination of inconvenience and limited options can cause tensions to mount and tempers to flare. Instead, thanks in part to the good-natured Reeves, this turned into the world’s most charming tale of getting stranded in an airport.

In a series of Instagram videos, artist Brian Rea documented Reeves, post emergency landing, gamely updating his fellow passengers on their options. It’s unclear when or if flights were available from Bakersfield as the airport was closed and that their best bet was going by van. (It’s also unclear whether the transportation was arranged by Reeves or the airline.) He can be heard saying, “The people who can unload bags won’t be here for three hours. Management will be here in an hour. So if you want to hit the road and deal with your bags later, or deal with customer service and get it delivered.”


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Hey everyone- There’s been a lot of attention about a recent story I posted about an “adventure“ on a minibus with one of the great humanitarians (and fav actors) of our time. I don’t have anything to add other than that all the passengers were incredibly kind and lovely people, including the folks who took care of us in Bakersfield, CA. Perhaps though, with all this attention we can do some good. In the spirit of what a generous person Mr. Reeves is here are a few charities that you might consider donating to (if you don’t already). If you do have copies of the video (news outlets:), please attach links to these charities alongside them. Maybe we do a little good. 🙏 I posted direct links in my stories so you can easily click to each of these. 🚐🌴🦄💛 Song: It’s Such a Pretty World Today / Wynn Stewart #itssuchaprettyworldtoday

A post shared by Brian Rea (@freebrianrea) on

Reeves opted to take the van bound for Los Angeles, along with a rag-tag-band of passengers. And another series of videos shows Reeves keeping spirits high by sharing a few fun facts about Bakersfield “Its population is around three hundred and eighty thousand,” he reads, “Making it the ninth most populous city in California and the 52nd most populous city in the nation.” He also played some “Bakersfield sound” style country music on his phone.

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In the end, everyone got to where they were going while maintaining good spirits which is a pretty wholesome conclusion to every traveler’s worst nightmare. And while this is a feel-good story it’s also a handy road map for, not only making the best of being stranded, but improving the experience for your fellow castaways. Here’s our guide to being more like Keanu (or at least more prepared) the next time your travel plans go awry:

Have Your Emergency Kit Ready to Go

There’s no substitute for preparedness. Keep your phone charged; keep your external battery charged. Have a change of underwear in your personal item. You never know how long you’ll be somewhere without your luggage. It might be 2 hours, it might be 2 days.

Keep a Cool Head

You may not be a beloved movie star who anyone would be delighted to hang out with on a bus, but you can still aim for an air of disarming affability.

There’s a lot that happens while traveling that’s simply out of your hands—which has a lot to do with why travel is so inherently stressful. So if you find yourself at the center of a sticky situation with little control, you can at least exert some mastery over your own demeanor. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but give it the old college try. Breathe, count to ten, physically shake out the tension in your body. These things are cliché, but they’re cliché because they help.

Externalize Your Positive Energy

Misery may be known for loving company, but grumpiness doesn’t have a monopoly on being contagious. Just about all emotions are infectious—including the positive ones! You may not be a beloved movie star who anyone would be delighted to hang out with on a bus, but you can still aim for an air of disarming affability. Don’t be short with airline employees (or anyone else for that matter) and try to keep things upbeat. It’s easier for people to keep their spirits up (and make things less awkward and tense for the group) if they’re not being lured into irritability by someone else’s complaining.

You’re Getting Where You’re Going, And That Ain’t Nothing

If you’ve technically been “stranded” but you have an actionable game plan in place that you’re currently following through on, that’s half the battle right there. More than half. There’s no use in stewing over how late you’ll be. You’ve done all you can. The contract is sealed. Do your best to make peace with your new parameters and take solace in the fact that, yes, you’re up a creek but you do have a paddle.

Anyway, go see John Wick: Chapter 3 in theaters May 17.

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