'It's the one thing I can't reschedule:' Virginia family plans for graduation weekend

Posted at 7:56 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 08:24:02-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Driving to Virginia Tech is more than 200 miles round trip for Brenna Berger's family.

"I know we're not the only family that is looking at their gas gauge saying, 'Can I make it to my child's graduation?'" said Berger.

With gas stations running out of fuel just days before her son's graduation, getting to Blacksburg has posed a new set of frustrations.

"It's the one thing I can't reschedule. I can't change it," Berger said. "We actually even told my parents not to come because they live up in Northern Virginia and I was just worried about them making the trip from northern Virginia if they couldn't get gas in their car or get stuck somewhere."

Graduations are just some of the in-person events likely planned this weekend. Folks may also be traveling for pre-scheduled gatherings like weddings, vacations or funerals.

The fear of missing these events, in part, is causing panic buying down the East Coast.

"It's just mind boggling to me that that's where we are right now," Berger said. "Do you really need to fill up 85 gallons of gas? Are you going to use that in the next five days before this thing goes back to normal or are you taking it from someone else?"

Related: Colonial Pipeline resumes operations after cyberattack causes local gasoline supply disruptions, panic buying

Virginia Tech spokesperson Mark Owczarski said when it comes to commencement, there are plans in place if people can't make the drive.

He told News 3 reporter Erin Miller, "The one thing about a pandemic is that I think it's also made us a bit more resilient and a bit more determined, perhaps, so if gas is an obstacle, then we'll have alternatives. All of our individual in-person ceremonies will be live streamed right off of the university homepage."

Luckily for the Bergers, their weekend plans are on track, and those plans include both grandparents.

"I'm glad that he will have this moment even if it's different and not the usual way, and I'm glad will be able to be here," Berger said.

If you can, holding off on the trips now will give time for the fuel to re-fill and life to get back to normal.