December 11, 2013

Editor stranded in ice storm experiences truest form of humanity



I was stunned. He could have charged whatever he wanted and he asked for a rate I considered to be way under market value. Then he offered to take me to a local community center where volunteers set up a shelter for those stranded by the storm. I happily accepted.

During the trip we encountered a bevy of people stuck in the ice on the treacherous highway. Blaylock asked me if I minded him helping them out. Of course I didn’t, but this man’s kindness is exemplified in his asking. It took only a few minutes for Blaylock to hop out of the car and pull people out of danger. It was amazingly quick. It seemed unlikely that he received any money for his work from these people.

We eventually reached the Whitesboro Community Center and I paid Blaylock, He gave me his card and told me to call him if I needed anything. He said he was going to look for a young family with a six-month-old child that he heard was stranded, and took off into the night.

I walked into the shelter and was greeted with smiles. Volunteers asked me my name, took me to a cot and offered me soup, which I graciously accepted. Cots are just as uncomfortable as they look. They’re hard with little give. But when your nerves are shot, and you’ve reached a state pure exhaustion they become pillow-top mattresses.

There were about 30 people who took refuge at the shelter. All had the same bewildered and exhausted look about their face despite age. We were all connected by an incredible experience.

I fell asleep waking only once when a volunteer placed a Red Cross blanket over my body. Apparently, I had been shivering.

The morning greeted me with the scent of breakfast. Some of the same volunteers that were helping people late that night before were still there, serving us biscuits, gravy, sausage, eggs and coffee. It was certainly not what I imagined when I thought about shelter food.

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