Obviously this week the big news was that two inches of snow can bring Atlanta to its knees. Well, two inches of snow combined with some poor decisions made by city officials, schools, businesses, and citizens. However the best part was the human interest stories that came out of the situation. Obviously some good samaritans helped push me up a hill, but thats just the tip of the ice-berg for what Atlantan’s did for strangers all around them….
Keep in mind that there were families stuck in their cars for up to 21 hours without any food, water, bathrooms, or heat. These were people that could not brave a walk down the highway with their toddlers and babies or the elderly. For them, there was a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of strangers with big compassion. People who lived near these stranded cars walked down the iced highways and bridges with home made sandwiches, coffee, and hot chocolate handing it out to anyone in need of food or warmth. A Facebook group called Snowed Out Atlanta was started by a woman who had a friend trapped in her car with no coat, gloves, and only her work clothes to keep her warm: she was miles from an open business/shelter. The Facebook page simply asked if there was anyone near by that could help her, and within minutes she had strangers at her car offering her a warm place to stay. Over the next few hours, so many people shared their addresses and phone numbers for anyone that was stranded could find shelter. The more people that posted that they were stranded, the more offers of safe warm places to go popped up. There were several people who had jeeps and cold weather vehicles that found posts for the elderly and distressed, and drove to pick them up where they were and took them to a safe location. Once man rescued over 20 people from their cars and delivered them safely home. He drove through the night to help people he had never met. There was so much activity on the sight that Facebook had to contact the creator of the group to tell her the group had grown too large, and they recommended that she split it up into a few different groups!
But their were two stories that take the cake : A woman went into labor on interstate 285. Obviously no ambulance could get to her, because the entire city was gridlocked and emergency vehicles are no more equipped to drive on ice than any other in town. Her husband was in the car with her and proudly delivered his healthy baby girl, Grace, in the freezing temperatures. Everyone around this couple did what they could to help by providing blankets for warmth and a stranded police officer was able to supply a first aid kit to the father. It was also the police officers birthday! The second was a 60+ year old surgeon that was snowed in his house, but had a scheduled heart surgery in the middle of this mess. He walked 7 miles in the ice and snow to the hospital so he could get to his patient and save a life.
At the end of the day, while its terrifying to know how little it takes for this city to shut down, it is hart warming & inspiring to know its citizens will respond to the challenges. While I always love being an Atlantan, this week had me feeling even more blessed to be a part of this city and community!