By JENNIE ZEITLER
GMSN Gabrielle Mrosla of Upsala entered the Navy in April 2013. She graduated from boot camp and “A” school at Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, Ill. While on her way to a new command at Gulfport, Miss., flying from Minnesota, Mrosla encountered a stellar example of “Minnesota Nice” in an unlikely location — Louisiana.
Mrosla had been home in Upsala for Christmas.. She was scheduled to fly out of Minneapolis, with a connecting flight at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
The journey started with her flight leaving late from Minneapolis. When she arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth, the gates to her connecting flight had been closed.
The fact that Mrosla was in uniform and told the gate agent she needed to report to her new duty station didn’t change anything.
Mrosla had received a text from a Navy friend, Amy Johnson, who had travelled from Ohio that day and was aboard the flight to Gulfport.
“There was another woman there waiting for the same flight,” Mrosla said. “She had been on the same shuttle from St. Cloud to Minneapolis with me.”
The woman was trying to get home to Mississippi.
“She talked to the person at the gate, who offered us a flight to New Orleans instead,” Mrosla said.
The two took the flight and were met in New Orleans by the woman’s friend, who had driven from Gulfport.
Mrosla was surprised to learn that the friend, Kathy Hoeschen, was originally from Freeport. She and Mrosla had some common acquaintances.
“Her cousin was the janitor at my school in Upsala,” Mrosla said. “Members of her mom’s family went to Upsala, too.”
Mrosla was given a ride back to Gulfport by the women.
“They told me not to offer gas money or try to pay for dinner,” she said. “They took me out to dinner for steak and made sure I got back to base. They were very polite.”
She reported on time at the base and her luggage was delivered the following day.
Mrosla later heard from another Navy friend who had travelled from Wisconsin and was also supposed to be on the flight to Gulfport. He waited at Dallas/Fort Worth and was assigned to five or six different flights, each of which was delayed. He ended up staying overnight near the airport. The next day he flew to New Orleans and took a cab to Gulfport, which cost him $150. His luggage was lost for about five days.
Mrosla did a little digging and contacted Hoeschen’s parents at home in Minnesota to find out more about their family connections.
“They were so nice. They saved me a $150 cab ride,” Mrosla said. “It just shows how ‘Minnesota Nice’ travels.”