EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — From the stands, down to the field, the anticipation was building at MetLife Stadium Thursday.
There wasn’t a game or a concert on the schedule, just a homecoming over a year in the making.
Over 100 family members from across the country were reunited with relatives from the New York and New Jersey area for the first since the pandemic began.
The exhausting separation took a toll on grandmothers like Carmen Iglesias who traveled from Miami to reunite with her grandson Mateo. She is now relieved that it’s over.
“It’s amazing,” she told PIX11. “Its a beautiful and wonderful experience.”
The heartwarming in-person reunions were part of the “Day of Families” at MetLife, an initiative created by technology company Clear which partnered with United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy to fly everyone in.
The experience was not only magical but one that was universal.
You didn’t necessarily need to know these families to understand what they felt.
“I can’t even, I’m so happy,” Dorothea Barry, who was reunited with relatives, said. “This is the most wonderful thing ever.”
Kipp Lyle of the Bronx was taken aback when she finally reunited with her mother who had traveled from Vero Beach for the event.
“This COVID has really devastated us,” Lyle said. “You don’t really realize it when you’re trying to survive but this is really great.”
In some cases, grandparents met their grandchildren for the first time.
In order to pull off an event of this size, in this climate, every safety Precaution was taken. Everyone in attendance was administered a COVID-19 test in the parking lot. They were only allowed to enter with a negative result.
It’s a small price for a cherished memory.