Dad of the Year drove family 17 hours straight to Disney World after their flight was canceled

Then he drove back home to work.

disney world, great dads, new jersey

Main Street at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Few things would disappoint a child more than missing out on a trip to Disney World. Good News Network reports that it would have happened to Jill Tobin-Montanez’s two children if not for their amazing father, Nathan Montanez. When the mom and her kids arrived at the airport in New Jersey to fly to Florida, they learned their flight had been canceled 15 minutes before departure.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t another flight available for days.

“I explained to my kids that sometimes life gives you lemons—and we’d try again to get to Disney another time,” she told Good News Network. Nathan had dropped his wife and kids off at the airport and was on his way home because he wasn’t going on the trip due to work.

When he returned to the airport to pick them up, he had no intention of driving back home. They were going to Disney World.

“When we got in the car, all defeated, he asked if we were ready to go. We said ‘yup,’ thinking we were going home. Then he told us to get ready for a long drive,” Jill told Good News Network.

Now, that’s a dad committed to making his children happy. He drove 1,000 miles over 17 hours, down most of the East Coast, until they reached sunny Florida. The family arrived in Orlando at midnight, and Jill and the kids were able to visit the park the next day. Nathan got to hop back in the car and drive back to New Jersey. The good news is that he only missed a day of work.

“This dad is our rock!” Jill said. “Not many people in this world would do that. And the kids absolutely appreciate what he did for them.”

As any parent will tell you, childhood goes by way too fast, and in the blink of an eye, your toddler is graduating from high school, so you have to enjoy being a parent while you can. Kudos to parents like Nathan Montanez, who know there is only so much time to help your children have a wonderful childhood, and only so many opportunities to take your child to Disney World.

Unfortunately, canceled flights have become a severe problem in America, making vacations stressful for many Americans. Recently, the airline industry has been hit by a perfect storm that has made air travel less reliable than at any time in recent history.

One of the big reasons is that the Federal Aviation Administration has dealt with staffing issues. According to ABC News, the FAA expects to lose 1,300 controllers during the fiscal year 2023 due to retirements, promotions and other losses. Due to a pause in training over two years due to COVID-19, it has taken much longer to certify their replacements, leaving many airports short-staffed.

Airlines have also needed help with staffing after the downsizing that happened during COVID-19. During that time, they also decommissioned many planes, reducing capacity.

Climate change is also causing many problems with air travel, and that problem doesn’t show any sign of abating. “More heat in the atmosphere, thermodynamics 101—we’re going to have more thunderstorms,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told Politico.


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