They were stuck in a Montana airport with no end in sight to their wait and no kosher food to eat. That’s what happened today to some 300 passengers on an El Al airlines flight Tel Aviv to Los Angeles. The Boeing 777 made an emergency landing in Billings, Mont., when a reported fire in one of the engines made it unsafe to continue.
Passengers disembarked the plan and were bused to a terminal, where they waited for another plane to take them to their final destination—Los Angeles International Airport. There they sat as the hours ticked away and the food supplies—in particular, the kosher food—dwindled.
Hillel Fuld of Beit Shemesh, Israel, says that somehow, Rabbi Chaim and Chavie Bruk—co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman—got news of the situation and set about immediately to offer assistance.
With her 3 young children in tow, Chavie Bruk drove a car full of kosher food 150 miles to Billings Logan International Airport, where passengers had been waiting for nearly 10 hours.
“She showed up and instantly put a smile on hundreds of faces. She did it with utter grace and never stopped smiling for a second,” says Fuld, 37, who works in technology. “Based on the constant smile on her face, she is happier to be here than we are to have her here.
“It was a tremendous kiddush Hashem—amazing and inspiring!”
Stuck in Billings, Montana after an emergency landing on the way to LA.
Chabad just showed up with endless food. pic.twitter.com/zsVwz43fqG
— Hillel Fuld (@HilzFuld) November 15, 2015
Fuld, who is traveling with his wife and 11-year-old son to Los Angeles, enjoyed kosher bagels, cold cuts, chips and cake. Heaps of hummus, fresh fruit and other goods were also available.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk recounts that the rabbi at El Al in Israel called him early today and apprised him of the plane trouble. Bruk was on a flight to Minneapolis, but his wife snapped into action.
She gathered as much ready-to-eat food as she could—the family had just received a kosher-food shipment the night before—piled her children into the car and drove two hours to the airport.
“She was welcomed like a heroine,” says the rabbi.
Meanwhile, the group of tired passengers remain in the airport two hours later—a half-day now—waiting for the next leg of their journey.