I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the thousands of Facebook and Twitter posts about being stranded miles from home with pictures that look like they came from an episode of The Walking Dead. Videos of twenty car pileups on the interstate and the thousands of people walking on major highways.
All because of two inches of snow.
Like many, I left school at 10:15 yesterday morning. My route that normally would take me 15-20 minutes home took ten minutes shy of four hours. Miserable. Unbearable. Intolerable. Just a few words to describe my trek. Thankfully, I got home a lot sooner than some.
The problem was we weren’t in the least bit of prepared. I don’t blame the weathermen, they didn’t see it coming either. Sometimes Mother Nature shows up and throws us for a loop. Good one, lady.
After I finally made it home, a few spin outs, stalls, and contemplations of parking and joining the few that gave up and began walking, I was relieved and grateful. I threw on an hoodie and jacket and grabbed my puppy. After all, it was her first snow!
Meanwhile, the chaos seconds from my apartment was getting worse. News of wreck after wreck, missing elders, children stranded at school, parents trying their best to get there, etcetera. What was supposed to be a fun snow day, turned into a living nightmare for many. I kept my eyes glued to my phone and weather channels. I remember vividly calling my mother, almost in tears saying, “What is the city going to do? This is Hell!” I began to feel helpless and mostly selfish that I was in a comfy, warm bed while all those people suffered in the frigid air.
As it it got darker, it really sank in that these people were going to have to shack up in their cars. Many found hotels and hospitals to crash in, but the ones still stuck in the big mess on our interstates weren’t so lucky.
I wish I could’ve done something, but honestly there wasn’t much. Thankfully, from what I’ve heard, there haven’t been any fatalities, but even this morning there are still cars parked down the highways and people walking everywhere. If you didn’t know better, you would think we live in New York City.
Above all, I am most grateful for the true Southern Hospitality that took place here. People helping people get their cars up hills, people offering rides to certain parts of town, the first responders who directed traffic, and the people literally opening their homes to walking strangers. That’s why I’m proud to live in a state that cares for it’s neighbors. Where the motto, “Nobody gets left behind” echoes from our tallest buildings. Where people open their hearts and help others, despite their own needs. Alabama is a state of togetherness and the only reason why the sun came out this morning is because of the generosity and pure selflessness of our people.
We might not have been prepared, but we made it. Continue to keep those families who aren’t reunited yet in your thoughts and prayers.