Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Couple rescued from vacation from hell

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CABO SAN LUCAS - About 30,000 tourists have been put up in temporary shelters after Hurricane Odile moved ashore and leveled much of what was in its path.

A number of families from the Baton Rouge-area where vacation along the popular Mexican coastline as the storm approached.

"We woke up to Federales with machine guns tells us we must evacuate; mandatory," real estate agent Ruthie Golden told WBRZ News 2 in a phone conversation from California Monday evening. She and her husband were fortune, she says, to get out before the storm closed the airport and forced vacationers to seek shelter.

"We were pretty shocked," Golden said about how fast the storm strengthened.

As the Category 3 storm approached, the Goldens packed their week of vacation into bags in just 15 minutes and were told to get on a bus for the United States. The 20 hour ride to Los Angeles was the only safe way out they were told.

The trip has turned out to be a series of unexpected events. As the couple was about to step foot on the bus for the expected tiresome journey, people they briefly met at the pool a few hours earlier offered an alternative: a private flight out of Mexico; and it was leaving soon.

"We ran in to Jay McGraw, Dr. Phil's son, and they invited us on their private jet. We took off; we were the last ones to leave the airport," Golden said with a sigh as she reflects on the past 72 hours.

Golden said they only met the McGraws at a pool and had a brief conversation with their party. She said they are extremely grateful the McGraws remembered them and helped them leave the area.

But, the Goldens' friends about 30 miles away at another hotel were not so lucky. They stayed behind and have had to endure power outages and draining batteries and generators.

The storm damaged the Los Cabos international airport and it remained closed Monday evening.

Ruthie Golden said the McGraws did not want to take any kind of payment for their generosity, although she plans to send them something when they return to Baton Rouge.
"It proves there are people that are good, just out of the kindness of their hearts," she said. "They're not looking for any PR, they really are just good people."
Ruthie added she has limited conversations with her friends who remained in Cabo, but they appeared to be doing okay.

Scores of people have been injured but there are no reports of fatalities.

The storm is the most powerful to hit Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz



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