Briar Mayoh texted her mom Kim Wednesday morning flustered, running behind schedule after breaking her bag en route to catch a flight in Kelowna.
Heading home to Victoria, the 19-year-old made her Pacific Coastal boarding call just in time and upon arriving at the YYJ gate was greeted by more than just her mom and boyfriend Devin, becoming the 2-millionth passenger to travel through the Victoria International Airport.
“I thought I was in trouble,” Mayoh says, when airline staff approached her at boarding to give her the news.
Greeted by a flash of cameras, airport staff and volunteers as well as representatives from Pacific Coastal and the Victoria Airport Authority, Mayoh took the surprise in stride as VAA CEO Geoff Dickson presented her with a brand new four-piece luggage set, a stay at the Empress Hotel, free airport parking and a flight voucher from the airline.
“If she wasn’t late then she might not have been the 2-millionth passenger,” said Kim, holding the family dog Suki who “comes every time we pick [Briar] up.”
This trip however, is special because Mayoh won’t be boarding a return flight – she is moving home to Victoria after two years in the Okanagan studying at the University of British Columbia.
The biochemistry student – who will begin the January semester at the University of Victoria – only just completed her final exam last night.
Dickson said the airport hadn’t anticipated celebrating a milestone like this until at least 2021. Data specialists had been crunching numbers and narrowed it down to the anticipated day and then the exact flight and passenger.
“That’s an amazing accomplishment for this airport,” he said, crediting an influx of carriers over the years to provide travellers with more passage to a host of destinations.
“I think it also speaks to the strength to the local economy,” he said. “And it speaks to the hard work and commitment of our tourism industry for creating world-class destinations in this wonderful region that we all get to live in.”
As for Briar, she’s just happy to be home – this time for good.
“This is a pretty good way to start off my Christmas holiday.”