The last time it happened it was 2011. It was 2011 and I was visiting at a friends house. It was supposed to start snowing after midnight, so when I left at 10pm, I did not think it would be a problem. But it was…because about 5 inches of snow had already fallen. Lucky for me, he had a Bobcat. So he got into the Bobcat to try to clear the large driveway. And I was very excited…until I watched the Bobcat slide down the very steep driveway.
Now, three years later, there was another snow storm in the ATL. What made this storm different, was that it was during the week, during the day. Everyone was at work when the storm hit.My co-workers and I left a little after 12. A twenty-minute ride took over an hour. And I was lucky. Very lucky.
The thing about snow in Atlanta, is that we have no idea what to do with it. We do not have the snowplows, salt trucks and sand trucks to keep the road from turning into an icy nightmare. And because none of us know how to drive in the snow, we flake out, panic at the sight of the first snow flake, and try to head home. Which would not be a problem – if there weren’t like 10 million of us around the area…trying to get home.
Shortly after I got to my house, the roads were packed beyond capacity with everyone trying to get home. The snow kept falling along with the temperature. Soon every road, every street, every lane and boulevard were treacherous. Drivers were stranded, many just choosing to leave their cars and walk to a destination.
But then something amazing happened. In the middle of the mess, the icy roads, horrible traffic and cold weather…a little Facebook page called SnowedOutAtlanta started circulating. This great site listed wonderful people who had extra beds available and were offering to help out those who were stranded on the roads.
Hundreds of people across the area with postings like – 2 extra beds, warm food, drink and shower; Have 3 couches, warm dumplings and blankets; warm beds, blankets, food and drink. This website became the lifeline for many people, stranded and many people trying to help their loved ones just get home.
Home Depot stores stayed open so stranded drivers could get there are have a warm place. The same with CVS, Walgreen’s, Kroger and many other stores. Chic-fi-Lay gave out free food. People were walking up and down their streets with water, hot chocolate and checking on cars to make sure everything was ok.
Atlanta… 3 inches of snow may put our entire city in chaos, but we know how to take care of each other. We have the Southern Hospitality down! It is truly about helping each other, our fellow man. I am very proud to be from Atlanta today, proud to be Southern, proud to be American, proud to be of the Human Race today.Think about it, if we can pull together and take care of each other because of bad weather, we can overcome anything. Thank you to all who helped, all who opened up their homes, all who took to the streets to check on others, bring food, water, and hope. Thank you to all who prayed, organized help for others, who gave rides, those who served and lost sleep. Thank you.
There were so many stranded last night, and even today. And there were thousands who were helping. Thousands who will never be mentioned, maybe even their names will never be known. But they helped and made a difference, even in small ways. Here are just two small examples, of the generosity and kindness:
“Hey folks. I’m a trucker stuck on I-285 at exit 60 (Riverdale RD). I have some food and water for anyone close to me. I’ll walk up to a mile or so to help if needed. I don’t have a ton but I have enough to spare to quite a few folks. If you’re pregnant, have kids with you or elderly. You will be priority. Don’t be afraid to ask. Times like this-we help each other.”
“Thanking God that I finally made it home, after leaving work at 1pm on yesterday. After 10 hours of driving, praying and watching cars/trucks slide and crash, I finally stopped for gas and decided to head to a friend’s home. Unfortunately, the surface roads were sheets of ice, as I drove onto Paces Ferry Rd in Vinings I saw a group of men pushing cars, feeding and comforting passengers. A man (Bob) approached my car to tell me the road was shut down and after attempting to push my car he told me to stay the night at his home. Now, anyone that knows me know I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery and I don’t deal with strangers and I was hesitant. He then motion for his wife Ann to come and take me across the street to another house, where a 91 year old woman was feeding stranded people and giving them a place to sleep. She made me hot chocolate and we talked and laughed. Ann then came back to take me to her home. Ann was amazing, her and Bob’s home was huge and amazing. They allowed me to stay in a beautifully decorated room, gave me pajamas and just made me feel so comfortable. I slept like a rock. This morning, she made breakfast and went back out to help more people that slept in their cars. I cannot tell you how they made me feel, their spirit and helpfulness was amazing. God will always made a way and send angels to comfort you. These people and their sweet dogs are angels. I THANK GOD for Ann & Bob , He touched their hearts to serve people they don’t even know. This has made a profound impact on my life. Life is too short to spend it mad, angry, better, life is about finding God’s purpose, love, family and most of all service to others – impacting the life of others. I have learned a valuable lesson and I will not hesitate to pay it forward.”