To pass the time, guests played board games and cards with one another. They sang karaoke and held a trivia competition. The band, who apologized to fans that they would be unable to make their next show in Essex, even sang a few more tunes. Some meals were provided for free, but other food was sold at half price. Alcohol continued to flow — it is a pub, after all.
“We were all drinking solidly for three days,” Longthorp said. “I think they got their money’s worth.”
As word spread of the pubgoers’ predicament, tavern owner Nicola Townsend began doing media interviews. She appeared on the British morning TV shows, on Sky News, the BBC, and on the radio. She was interviewed by the New York Times. The story made headlines in Italy, Germany, and Sweden. All the while, she was still trapped.
“It’s like having a very large group of friends ’round for dinner,” Townsend told the Telegraph newspaper. “They’ve formed quite a friendship — like a big family is the best way I can describe it. One lady actually said: ‘I don’t want to leave.’”
Guests lavished praise on the hardworking staff, who kept them safe and fed them warm roast dinners. Patrons passed around a collection tray, raising hundreds of dollars to thank the seven employees for their unexpected three-day shifts.
By Monday morning, the snowplows had cleared the neighboring roads and guests could finally depart. Longthorp said she was thrilled to get home and change out of the clothes she had worn since Friday. Rigby said he was relieved to be back in his own bed.
“We were definitely ready for a shower, but I think we will be OK off the wine for a night or two now,” he said.
On the pub’s Facebook page, staff shared a photo of the guests crowded together in the music hall, stranded but smiling. “We will ALWAYS remember this group of amazing people who came together, and hopefully, in challenging circumstances, enjoyed what we all think was a life-changing experience,” bar staff wrote.