I sit here at work. It is 4:51 in the morning. It was a long night. I slept on an office floor and, being a runner, my hips have little cushion between them and the floor. Ouch. I got about 3 hours sleep and now am up for the day. It is cold, icy and not going to get better soon.
It is supposed to get just above freezing today around 2:00 – 3:00 and then go back into the teens. I have a strange feeling I won’t be going home tonight. There are thousands of stranded Birminghamians and at 2:00 they will all try to head home. The only thing worse than spending another miserable night on an office floor is to spend one in my car.
Okay, back to yesterday. Honestly in many ways it was amazing.
I got about 1/4 mile from work when the cars in front of me stopped. There was a hill and they were struggling to get up it because the snow was so slick. I had to stop and each time I started to go forward, my wheels would just spin. Funny, I drove my son’s car and had just told him that his front tires are getting bald and need to be changed. Oh well.
I sat for 20 minutes watching 20 cars in front of me trying to get up the hill. Some made it and many did not. Eventually, at the top of the hill, there were several cars just blocking the road. They either couldn’t move or were sliding down backwards. I sat in my car amazed that no one was getting out to try helping these people get moving so that at least someone could head on. Then it occurred to me… “Hmmm. Why am I just sitting in my car not helping these people. Here I am mad at everyone else and I am doing the same thing. Someone has to do something.”
So I got out and went up to a car and started pushing and tried to explain to Southerners how to drive in icy snow. I have driven in a lot of snow in my life; not much in the past 15 years, but I know how to drive in the snow from a lot of experience. So I explained to people how to get the car moving slowly forward and I pushed from the side of the car. My little push seemed to make all the difference. Honestly, as Christian, I’d have to say there were angels helping me. I even pushed a small school bus full of kids. As soon as I started pushing, the bus started moving. It was quite amazing.
I finally came to a car that had been stopped for an hour or so. It was in the wrong lane and sitting out in the road. I couldn’t help them because of the angle that the car was sitting. I finally saw 3 men walking down a nearby hill and asked for help. The jumped in and we got this guy up the hill. I mentioned to one of them that I wish I had gloves and he gave me his extra pair. After about 20 minutes they left to get some people to shelter and after offering to help me get my car out (I declined), they went their way. I still have his gloves. He never asked for them back.
The irony of the situation was that the road was blocked ahead and behind. After people got up the hill, there was no where for them to go. But at least they were parked on the sides of the road and not in the middle of a hill.
After a couple of hours, I finally decided to walk back to work. Then the next amazing thing. Someone with a pickup truck full of food from SAMs had to park in our lot because he couldn’t get anywhere. He asked if it was okay to leave his truck and then told us to eat anything we wanted. I’m talking a lot of food. There were probably 15 pizzas, lots of bags of rolls, pies, cookies and much more. So the 10 or so of us got to cook anything we wanted. I think we will be eating this for the next few days. We made a list of what we eat so we can reimburse him. The food was for a church ministry, but he didn’t want it unused. So we have electricity, heat, tons of food and I even get to be one of the few people who will make it to work today. 🙂
I sit here in the quite as my coworkers try to sleep. My hip hurts from all the pushing yesterday. I am exhausted. But I am thankful for the events of the past 24 hours. I miss my family and my bed. I do know that there were still people stranded on the highway late last night. I pray they made it somewhere safely.
So no running yesterday. 🙂 Just lots of memories. I hope and pray that I get home tonight, but if not, I’ll write part three of this saga tomorrow.