MILWAUKEE - FOX6 viewers recently rallied to support a Milwaukee youth dance team short on money to travel to an out-of-state competition, donating more than $8,000. The Royal Heat Dance Team booked their bus, but unfortunately, is now facing a devastating setback.
Planning to leave at midnight, Coach Gloria McCoy received her booking confirmation on Thursday morning, Sept. 30. Much to her surprise, roughly one hour later, the bus company reached back out telling her that a driver shortage had put the brakes on the team's plans.
"I'm still kind of shocked," said Gloria McCoy, Royal Heat Dance Team coach.
Over the last week and a half, Coach McCoy and the Royal Heat Dance Team have been met with highs and lows. The team was invited to a competition on Oct. 2 in Greenville, South Carolina, but didn't have the funding to go. FOX6 viewers stepped in, helping them exceed their fundraising goal.
"It was amazing," said McCoy. "It was like, mind-blowing."
With the money, they reserved a charter bus for 28 people this weekend, but less than 15 hours before they were set to leave, McCoy received an email that one of two drivers was sick – and the bus company would need to cancel their reservation.
"I never knew they will cancel the day of," said McCoy. "I received first my receipt stating everything was paid for and we're ready to go. I wasn’t angry, I was more sad."
Plus, McCoy said, the dancers and their parents who decided to fly had already boarded their planes when she found out the upsetting news.
That's when FOX6 got involved. The original bus company said they couldn't find a replacement. Call, after call, after call, FOX6 News spoke with reps from more than a dozen transportation companies Thursday. All said they are also in the midst of a driver shortage.
"By all means necessary, we have to get these kids to South Carolina," said McCoy.
Coach McCoy isn't giving up yet, maintaining faith that this, too, will come together.
Royal Heat Dance Team
"This is not just a dance team," said McCoy. "It’s a dance family. The reason why it's a dance family is because it brings joy, and it brings hope and when I come in and I see their faces, it makes me smile on a bad day."
The original bus company has issued a refund to the team.
FOX6 News received an update from McCoy late Thursday that she was able to reserve a 15-passenger van from a local Enterprise Rent-A-Car location; she is still working on a carpooling solution for the rest of the team.