HOLMES BEACH – After finding out that their son, Ben, was able to get out of Haiti amid political unrest, his parents, Beth and Scott Walker of Birmingham, Ala., decided to meet him in Florida and spend time on Anna Maria Island, where they regularly vacation.
Ben Walker was on a mission trip to Haiti when the government raised the price of a gallon of gas to $10, prompting widespread protests. The airport in the capital, Port Au Prince, was shut down by the protests.
The members of the mission were stuck in a hotel, but they felt safe, according to Walker.
“The people were upset at the government but very well behaved toward us,” he said. “I never felt like we were in danger.”
On Monday at 2:30 p.m., they were told they had a charter flight out.
“We were told to pack our bags and get ready to go,” he said. “We were relieved when the plane took off.”
Ben Walker said he was in contact with his family on the Internet throughout his ordeal and he holds no grudge against the protesters.
“I would like to go back again,” he said. “They were very hospitable and there were people who were not protesters.”
He felt like he was helping people who are in a bad situation.
“It is a mission of hope where Haitians are helping Haitians,” he said.
Still, as they enjoyed breakfast at Minnie’s Tuesday morning, the parents and Ben Walker‘s younger brother, Sam, 9, were happy he’s back and they planned to have some “down time” here in paradise to celebrate.