- Courtesy Of Marie Hamilton
- Marie Hamilton, after springing the car from the Montréal airport lot
A Vermonter's car stuck for nearly a year at the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport has been repatriated. Emmanuel Capitaine was reunited with his Toyota RAV4 last week in Williston.
Seven Days recounted Capitaine's story in this column last month: He drove the car to the airport to catch a flight to Paris on March 11, 2020. Days later, Canada closed its border with the U.S. due to the pandemic.
The border still isn't open, but the Seven Days article caught the attention of a native Vermonter now living in Montréal. Marie Hamilton is a dual citizen, and she wanted to help.
Hamilton admits, too, that she had an ulterior motive: to see her 93-year-old grandmother, who lives in Shelburne. So she got in touch with Capitaine, and they hatched a plan. He mailed her the car keys and documents asserting that she had permission to drive the vehicle across the border.
After nearly a year of no use, the car wouldn't budge. The battery was dead, the brakes had seized, and the tires were low on air. A tow truck hauled the Toyota to a repair shop for about $1,500 worth of work, according to Capitaine.
Once the car was road ready, Hamilton headed south. Any concerns about crossing the border were quickly alleviated. As she explained the backstory to an agent, he laughed. "I heard of that. I read about that!" Hamilton said he told her. She added, "It was incredibly smooth — like, one of the smoother crossings I've ever had."
Hamilton was grateful to be in Vermont for the first time since February 2020. She plans to quarantine before visiting her grandmother. Then she'll hitch a ride back to Canada with a Vermonter in early April. They connected on Facebook after both commented on this newspaper's original article about Capitaine's car.
"It was just a very Vermonty situation," Hamilton said of her unique travel arrangements. "All thanks to Seven Days!"