Super Bowl

Some healthcare workers who rode Patriots’ plane to Super Bowl had shifts ‘a few hours’ after they returned

"It makes you realize that we have done something pretty extraordinary."

Healthcare workers board the Patriots team plane to attend Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Want an example of how hard healthcare workers have had to work over the last year?

Over the weekend, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots flew a group of 76 vaccinated healthcare workers on their private jet down to Tampa Bay and provided an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl. The goal was to honor the workers and to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

The Patriots plane returned on Monday morning at 4 a.m., and the workers had the option of staying at a hotel near Gillette stadium.

But according to WBZ’s Nick Giovanni, some had to brush off their cars immediately after arriving.

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“Some of them did stop at the hotel here at Patriot Place to rest up for a few hours,” Giovanni said on WBZ’s morning report. “But others headed straight for the parking lot and started clearing off the snow from yesterday because they said their shift was just a few hours away.”

Still, workers described the trip in glowing terms like “the trip of a lifetime.”

It didn’t seem real. I’m still trying to process it,” Bill McGuire of Kent Hospital in Warwick, RI told WBZ. “But I thought it was excellent, awesome.”

Alyssa Boyle, also of Rhode Island, told WBZ it was “unbelievable.”

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“I’ve never won anything, so this was a big surprise,” she added

For Tara Fagan of Connecticut, the trip offered some perspective.

“To be recognized for what we’re doing, it makes you realize that we have done something pretty extraordinary,” she said.

Jairah Zinni — a nurse in Massachusetts General Hospital’s emergency department — described the feeling to the Boston Globe as “a good tired.”

Healthcare workers gathered early on Sunday and were flown down to Tampa Bay, where they received tickets to the Super Bowl as well as food at the arena, accommodations, a Patriots gift bag, and tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert. They returned after the game — a rewarding, whirlwind journey.

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Zinni — who described the trip as exactly what the healthcare workers needed — told the Globe the concert was a reminder that things can get better.

“It was really a beacon for everybody going forward, that hopefully, things will start turning around,” Zinni told the Globe.

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