Inauguration trip of a lifetime turns disastrous


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- The price seemed too good to be true: $300 for a round-trip bus tour to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a hotel night included. A bus left from Austin, picked up more people in Dallas and headed to Washington, D.C.

But for Aesha Godfrey, the ride was anything but smooth.

“I’m so angry,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey, her mother, her aunt and some friends booked the trip online. The trip was advertised on the Dallas County Democratic Party’s website.

The bus left Austin early Saturday and had a pickup in Dallas, which is where the women drove to meet up with the group.

That is when their trouble started, the women said.

“We didn’t follow nothing,” Godfrey said. “Where we were supposed to eat, we didn’t eat at. When we were supposed to arrive in certain cities, we didn’t arrive there.”

The women admit they openly complained, but never expected what happened next.

When they finally made it to Baltimore where the group would be staying, Godfrey said they were not given a room. They said their group leader then threatened to dial 911 if they boarded the bus again.

“So we knew then that we did not have a way home,” said Sheila Mitchell, Godfrey’s aunt.

“Christians don’t treat people this way,” Godfrey said. “That’s not how you treat people.”

The women realized they could not afford to stay any longer.

Instead of seeing the inauguration, they headed to the airport early. They flew to Dallas and then drove home to Spring.

“It was too far from home for something like this to happen,” Mitchell said. “If we get a chance to go to an inauguration, it will never be president Obama’s inauguration. We missed that history.”

Organizer of the trip, Sharon Davis tells a different side to the story.

Davis, a volunteer for the Democratic Party, said the trip itinerary was posted on the Dallas County Democratic Party's website.

Davis told KVUE the women were given the rules of the trip, bus etiquette, and told profanity was prohibited. Davis said the women were complaining and making other passengers uncomfortable.

"If you keep hollering and using profanity, if it does continue I'm going to have to remove you from the bus," Davis recalled telling the women.

Davis said she offered to reimburse the women for half the cost of the trip but said they refused to accept the money.