‘Beautiful’: Families separated since start of pandemic reunite at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WPIX) — From the stands down to the field, the anticipation was building at MetLife Stadium on Thursday.

There wasn’t a game or a concert on the schedule, just a homecoming more than a year in the making.

Over 100 family members from across the country were reunited with relatives from the New York and New Jersey area for the first time since the pandemic began.

The separation took a toll on grandmothers like Carmen Iglesias, who traveled from Miami to reunite with her grandson Mateo. She is relieved it’s over.

“It’s amazing,” she told WPIX. “It’s a beautiful and wonderful experience.”

The heartwarming, in-person reunions were part of the “Day of Families” at MetLife, an initiative created by technology company Clear, which partnered with United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy to fly everyone in.

The experience was not only magical but universal. You didn’t need to know the families to understand what they felt. 

“I can’t even, I’m so happy,” said Dorothea Barry, who was reunited with relatives. “This is the most wonderful thing ever.”

Kipp Lyle, of the Bronx, was taken aback when she finally reunited with her mother, who had traveled from Vero Beach for the event.

“This COVID has really devastated us,” Lyle said. “You don’t really realize it when you’re trying to survive, but this is really great.”

In some cases, grandparents met their grandchildren for the first time.

To pull off an event of this size, every safety precaution was taken. Everyone in attendance was given a COVID-19 test in the parking lot, and they were only allowed to enter with a negative result.

It was a small price for a cherished memory.

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