“It just touched my heart and I just felt a very strong force in me to come here and meet these wonderful people,” Jenny Ricobono told NBC Nightly News in an August 19 broadcast. Ricobono had recently taken in a performance of Broadway’s Come From Away, the story of the town of Gander, Newfoundland, and its generous residents who welcomed thousands of “come-from-aways” when 37 planes were diverted to their airport after the terrorist attacks of September 11.
“We never see a spotlight shone on people doing great things,” says one half of the musical’s writing team, Irene Sankoff. “Every day there's a new horrible thing that happens on our Twitter feeds and our Facebook feeds, and this is a story about people being nice to each other,” adds her writing partner and husband, David Hein. Since the musical debuted on Broadway in February 2017, tourism to Gander has increased.
And, as seen in the video above, Ganderites are just as hospitable today as they were nearly 18 years ago. And the tradition of kissing the cod in the local pub as portrayed on Broadway in the “Screech In” is very much a real-life practice.