Twenty-six-year-old Amber Ferland assumed Thanksgiving this year would be like any other: relaxing with family, eating home-cooked food, and catching up on sleep. But then an unthinkable tragedy befell her out of nowhere. Less than two months before the annual holiday, Amber’s parents informed her she would have to pay for her own flight home for Thanksgiving this year.

“They paid for my flight from Boston back home to Atlanta all through college and for each of the past four years,” Amber explained amidst this understandably trying time. “This year, when I hadn’t gotten an email from my mom asking for preferred departure times by late September, I knew something was up. I just had no idea it would be this bad.”

In an instant, Amber’s life had changed. Now, forced to use a portion of her $40,000 salary to fund her own travel, she is left unsure what awaits her when she arrives home. Will she be forced to pay for gas when driving her parents’ car? Will she have to pick up the check for dinner when going out to eat with her family? At this point, anything seems possible.

“This has really shattered my view of the world,” Amber said while noting that the plane ticket cost would cut deeply into her Black Friday shopping money. “My friend Jenna lives all the way in California, and her parents are flying her out for Thanksgiving. And she’s 28.”

“These are $250 plane tickets we’re talking about,” Amber added. “From my savings account.”

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If there is any silver lining in this tragedy, it’s that Amber’s parents are continuing to pay for her portion of the family cell phone plan. For now.