To pass the time, guests played board games and cards with each other. They sang karaoke and held a trivia contest. Apologizing to the fans for not being able to make their next show in Essex, the band sang a few more tunes. Some meals were served free, while other food was sold at half price. The alcohol kept flowing – it was a pub, after all.
“We were all drinking solid for three days,” Longthorpe said. “I think they got their money’s worth.”
As word of the pubgoers’ plight spread, tavern owner Nicola Townsend began doing media interviews. He has appeared on British morning TV shows, Sky News, the BBC and radio. She was interviewed by the New York Times. The story made headlines in Italy, Germany and Sweden. By then she was caught.
“It’s like having a very large group of friends round for dinner,” Townsend told the Telegraph newspaper. “They’ve formed a lot of friendships – like a big family is the best way I can describe it. One woman actually said: ‘I don’t want to leave.
Guests praised the hard-working staff who kept them safe and served them warm roast dinners. Patrons passed around a collection tray, collecting hundreds of dollars to thank the seven employees for their unexpected three-day shift.
On Monday morning, snowplows cleared neighboring roads and guests could finally exit. Longthorpe said she was thrilled to come home and change into the clothes she had been wearing since Friday. Rigby was relieved to be back in his own bed.
“We’re certainly ready for a shower, but I think we’ll be all right now with a night or two of wine,” he said.
On the pub’s Facebook page, staff shared a photo of guests huddled together in the music hall, but smiling. “We will always remember this wonderful group of people who came together and enjoyed what we all hope will be a life-changing experience, hopefully under challenging circumstances,” the bar staff wrote.