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Minnesotans caught in the act of kindness at WE Fest

Christy and Tim Jolly with their newfound friends at WE Fest 2018. / Submitted photo.1 / 3
Tim and Christy Jolly, left, stand with the Andersons whose property was offered up to them when they had nowhere else to sleep at WE Fest. / Submitted photo.2 / 3
Christy and Tim Jolly had some travel mishaps on their journey from Tampa, Florida to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, but found that several people were willing to help them out. / Submitted photo. 3 / 3

DETROIT LAKES—For Minnesotans, digging a stranger's car out of a snowbank is standard procedure. They would rarely second guess it. For travellers, this may seem like some form of bribery, but it's just common behavior, known to many as "Minnesota nice."

When Florida natives Christina and Tim Jolly landed in Minneapolis on their way to WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, they weren't feeling very jolly. The original plan was to rent a car and drive the three hours from the Cities to their hotel in Detroit Lakes. But the quote for the rental was massive, likely due to the high influx of people to the area during the music festival.

To their disappointment, they instead were forced to travel by tram, bus and train to get to Detroit Lakes.

"We finally arrived after what seemed like three days," Christina Jolly said. "...at 2:45 a.m. to find out we couldn't even get an Uber, and the closest taxi was in Fargo."

They walked the two miles from the train station to their hotel, luggage and all. However, that wasn't the end of their struggles. They lacked transportation to get to Walmart to acquire camping gear for WE Fest. Even worse, they had accidentally purchased campsite access rather than an actual camp space.

Jolly's husband got her the WE Fest tickets for her 30th birthday to see Carrie Underwood perform. "I can pretty much recite every song from start to finish and always dreamed to see her," Jolly said. Her dream of seeing Underwood perform was about to come true, but the obstacles made her doubtful.

"We were hanging out at Lakeside Tavern where we made friends with a lady named Lori, who was an absolute gemstone," Jolly explained. "She offered us her own personal vehicle. Unreal to us."

They used Lori's vehicle to make a Walmart run and get their needed camping supplies. Then, another gentleman offered them a free ride to the campgrounds.

"He was doing this just to help people out," Jolly said, "...with his cute dog I got to cuddle with on the ride there."

The moment they finally arrived at Soo Pass Ranch for the big show is when they realized they hadn't purchased a campsite. But again, a Minnesotan quickly came to the rescue. Lynn Anderson from Detroit Lakes offered the couple a space on her property to set up their small, two-person tent so they could stay the night after seeing Underwood.

Cindy Dormanen, another festival goer helped them out, too. "(A) deputy directed them to where I camp—Lynn Anderson's campground. Lynn gave them a spot. They had a tiny tent. I've never seen that kind of tent. They were sitting there for the longest time. Finally, we said, 'Why don't we see if they want lawn chairs.'"

Dormanen also offered the Jollys extra blankets during rainy weather spells. Then Dormanen and her fiance, Steve King, gave the couple a ride to the train station to send them off to their home in Tampa.

"Lynn welcomed us with open arms and even drove us on her golf cart to pick up our bags," Jolly explained. " We ended up making so many friends around the campsite that provided us with food, water, blankets, beer and, most importantly, accepted us as if we were family."

The Jollys ran into another couple who had overheard their story, particularly Christina's obsession with Underwood and the hurdles they faced on their vacation. It inspired them to offer up their silver concert tickets so the Jollys could sit much closer to the stage, right behind the VIP section.

Jolly said she had tears fill her eyes due to excitement and disbelief at the genuine thoughtfulness and caring with which they had been showered.

"We plan to visit yearly and visit our friends we made and will have for a lifetime," she said.

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