By Rob Hamilton / 92-9 The Game / CBS Sports Atlanta
There is a LOT of blame to go around in this latest snowy disaster for the city of Atlanta and the metro area. A lot. But there is a time and place for that debate and discussion, and last night was not that time.
As the sun set and the snow continued to fall it became clear that there would be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people still sitting in traffic, running out of gas, hungry, cold and stranded.
How we got to that point will be debated for a long time.
My wife and I had a heart to heart and decided that we had to do something. We’d never done anything like this before, and we knew that almost everyone stranded on the roads had probably never done this before… but this was a time to throw caution to the wind. This is the time that people just have to act.
So we did what we hoped anyone would do and we reached out on social media, mainly on Facebook.
Shortly after posting the following post we came across something incredible:
We received quite a few responses but one of them led us down a very rewarding path. One person suggested we check out the Facebook group SnowedOutAtlanta. That’s when things really got going. After being accepted by the moderator we discovered there were thousands of people just like us, offering their homes, a bed, shelter and food to anyone who was stranded near them.
It became quite intense for the next few hours as we responded to post after post very rapidly, as fast as they came in. We were just letting people know that we were near their location and that they had an option if things got too bad.
We had several people call but they usually ended up discovering that they were a little further away than they originally thought and didn’t want to risk the walk in those temperatures.
Then we received a request from someone named Megan. She had a friend that was new to the area, had never driven on snow and had to abandon her car on the main road about 1/2 mile from our neighborhood in Roswell. She was in the parking lot at a CVS near us and had bought a pillow and blanket in CVS in case she had to spend the night in her car.
I gave Megan our number and told her to tell her friend to contact us and we’d get her to our house. A few minutes later, Lindsey called me.
I gave her our address and she began walking towards our house. I walked the other way to meet her.
To say she was relieved beyond belief was an understatement. You could see it on her face.
“I don’t know you but I want to hug you right now,” said Lindsey. “I’ve fallen a few times on the ice because the shoes were not made for walking in snow. I’m exhausted and cold.”
“We’re going to take care of that” I told her.
My wife made up our guest room for her, set her up with some new toiletries, t-shirt, clean socks and sent her off to sleep.
Now, a lot of people are thinking “How could you let a stranger into your home?” or “How could Lindsey just volunteer to come in to your home without knowing you?”
Well, it comes down to survival guys. Lots of people stranded on the roads plus lots of people with empty guest rooms in their houses nearby equals this is something that had to be done.
The viral aspect of this is what makes this kind of thing work so quickly in events like these. And it’s also what makes each person’s involvement that much more important. As soon as our dear friend Bethany saw us get involved on Facebook, she became inspired to do the same thing, as she commented in this post in the group SnowedOutAtlanta about this very story:
We did find out later that Lindsey’s friend’s friend Jamie and I have one Facebook friend in common, so on top of everything we got a lesson in just how small this world really is.
Lindsey is still here as our road is still frozen, but hopefully she’ll be able to get safely home to her fiance later this afternoon.
She stayed warm, slept good, had a great meal or two… and we have a new friend.