KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – Tearia Meek’s suitcase is still packed and sitting in her living room. The Greyhound bus tag is still attached.
“We were supposed to go from Kansas City to St. Louis,” said Meeks, who had been traveling with her mother.
From St. Louis, multiple other buses would eventually take them to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where Meek hoped to be approved for a double transplant of her kidneys and her lungs.
She’s only 30, but she has been on dialysis for 13 years. She relies on a steady stream of medication and oxygen to stay alive. She was hopeful that the transplant would be her shot at a normal life.
But she never made it to the Mayo Clinic. That’s because the Greyhound that was supposed to take her there never came. Instead, on Feb. 4, Meek and her mom found themselves stuck at the Greyhound station in St. Louis for more than 12 hours.
“The bus was supposed to leave at 12:03 a.m.,” Meek said. “It didn’t leave at 12:03. It didn’t come at 12:15. The time changed to 2:15. 2:15 came and no bus.”
She was one of more than 50 people waiting.
“Other people that had been waiting there for days got mad,” she said.
An employee at the St. Louis station told her there was nothing he could do. So she kept waiting, becoming increasingly concerned.
“I ran out of oxygen tanks,” Meek said. “I only have so many.”
As the hours ticked by, she knew that even if a bus did finally come, she’d never make it to the Mayo Clinic in time for her appointment. Plus Meek and her mom didn’t even have enough money for a hotel room. Her mother had used her rent money to pay for the $600 in bus tickets.
What happened to them also happened multiple times this year to Greyhound passengers. Nexstar’s WDAF found stories across the country about passengers stranded at bus stations – not for hours, but days.
“It’s like they don’t care,” one woman told a reporter as she waited a second day for a bus to pick her up in Sacramento, California.
Meek said she had to plead with Greyhound just to allow her and her mom to return to Kansas City on a different bus. She also requested vouchers for a new trip since she had been unable to complete the trip they paid for.
Greyhound’s response was shocking.
“Oh, we can’t give you a voucher because the bus came and nobody got on it,” is what Meek recalled a customer service spokesperson telling her.
It’s a bizarre claim considering Greyhound had sent Meek a text message notifying her that her bus from St. Louis had been canceled.
When contacted by WDAF, the head of Greyhound’s public relations office felt Meek deserved a refund. He said that what happened to Meek should never have happened.
Greyhound gave Meek the two vouchers she was owed, plus promised to refund her money in full.
However, several weeks have passed, and Meek says she’s still waiting for the refund.
Meek heads back to the Mayo Clinic in June. If she receives final approval for the surgery, she’ll stay in Rochester until an organ becomes available. She’s been told that should only take a few days since she’s at the top of the organ recipient list.
To help Meek pay for lodging and food while she goes through the transplant process, a GoFundMe account has been established.