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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Grateful for the moment

When spring break finally approached us, like most other people, I was so excited to take time to relax and not have to worry about the stresses of school work. Normally, my family travels on a 14-hour car ride to the panhandle of Florida. However, this year, my brother and I had different spring breaks so we decided not to go. Instead, I set out on a two-day trip to Miami with my mom and one of my best friends, Grace.

When the day finally came to head to Miami, we woke up at 2 a.m. to catch our early morning flight, excited for the warm weather we were about to encounter. When we arrived in Miami, we checked into our hotel and headed off to a nearby Italian restaurant, ready to see all that Miami had to offer. After lunch, we headed to the nearby mall. Anyone that knows Grace and I knows that we can never turn down an opportunity to go into Sephora, even while on vacation. Later that night, we ventured off to another nearby Italian restaurant and had some of the most amazing and delicious food. Then, we went to check out some of the cool Miami districts.

The next day, we went and took advantage of the hotel pool and spa. After coming back from the spa, we headed back to our room to get ready to go to South Beach for dinner. As we were getting ready, we heard this random beeping noise that we didn’t think much of at first. However, when opening the hotel door, the sound was significantly louder, and we quickly discovered it was the fire alarm. We quickly made our way to the stairs to walk down the 17 flights of stairs. While we were walking down the stairs, my mom tried to call the hotel to see if there was an actual fire, but no one was answering. We assumed it was because everyone had left the building.

When we made it to the third floor, we discovered the exit doors were locked. We later discovered the exit doors were locked on the first and second floors as well. We were trapped. There was no way out of the building, and we still didn’t know if there was an actual fire or not. At this point, panic had set in. We called the fire department to explain what was happening. We then went over to a nearby glass window and saw a few people walking around below us, as well as a few people from the fire department. Still, no one knew where we were. We had to shine flashlights and call a nearby restaurant so that the fire department could figure out how to find us.

After the fire department found us, we discovered that there was no actual fire. There had been a malfunction with the hotel’s system that had caused the alarms to go off, resulting in our being trapped. While it was relieving to hear that we hadn’t been in danger, this was something we had no way of knowing until we were actually out of the situation. 

To me, this moment served as a reminder to never take life or the people in it for granted. Each day is a blessing to be grateful for. We are not guaranteed a certain amount of time on earth, so it’s up to us to make the memories and cherish the moments spent with loved ones. And as traumatic as this experience was, we were still able to enjoy the rest of our time in Miami, creating memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

Isabelle Kause is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying sociology and minoring in journalism. When she’s not busy, you can find her listening to country music or Taylor Swift or trying out new makeup/skincare products. She can be reached at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.