By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Well, we’ve been waiting for it all year and it’s finally here: Spring Break 2016. Things seem to be going well so far. The traffic jams are few, the glasses are full and the music is loud, just as it should be.
While traveling up and down the Island this week in search of interesting Spring Break stories, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few interesting moments and to meet several great people. While those moments were too brief for a fully fleshed out story, they still provide a glimpse of Spring Break that may be unexpected.
For example, while I sat in the McDonald’s drive-thru trying to place an order for sweet tea (their sweet tea is my kryptonite), the young woman taking my order had trouble understanding me. When I pulled up to the window, she smiled shyly and apologized, saying she was unfamiliar with the headset our Island McDonald’s uses. Turns out she’d travelled all the way from the mid-Valley to pick up shifts in anticipation of the Spring Break rush. The store she usually works at uses different drive-thru equipment. Since I’d gotten there during a brief lull, we chatted for a few more moments, long enough for me to tell her not to worry —that she’d do fine.
She’s not the only one who comes to SPI from afar to take advantage of the busy season. While Island, and even Port Isabel, businesses regularly staff employees from outside the Laguna Madre, that trend sees an uptick this time of year. And what’s true for businesses is also true for entrepreneurs.
This week I met an entire family from Brownsville who come to our sunny beaches in order to collect aluminum cans. Amidst the throngs of young co-ed revelers, this family weave in and out of the crowd collecting those all too familiar blue and silver cans. More than once, I saw Spring Breakers approach them with empties and thanking them for their help. The full family effort is for a good cause: the proceeds have helped pay for two quinceañeras and will soon go towards a third.
Not all Spring Breakers come to dance the days away, though. Some come here to serve, as is the case with the young men and women who come here every year as part of Beach Reach. Driven by a religious desire to serve, the group offers free rides to Spring Breakers across the Island in colorfully decorated passenger vans donated by local churches. Feeding the body as well as the soul is important to them, too, as they host a nightly pancake breakfast throughout Texas Week. Wednesday, the group was also set to help the City of South Padre Island by participating in a dune planting project.
Spring Break on South Padre draws national headlines. And while many of those involve coverage of the bacchanal-like beach parties and concerts, there’s more to our story than that. These smaller moments help us see the full picture.
Do you have a Spring Break story you’d like to share? If so, visit us online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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