In my last post, I wrote about my relief of leaving Arizona for the Atlanta area of GA as it puts me one step closer to the Queen City, Charlotte, NC. One of the drawbacks of Atlanta is famously bad traffic. To understand the rest of this post, you probably need to know me. But, since I chose to write about it, I’ll let you in on one of my (many) dark secrets: I hate commuting. I mean, I despise it. I’ve been fortunate over the last few years to live close enough to my office to have a commute of 15 minutes or less. Well, that ended a couple of months ago. My comfort of a short commute was unfortunately a casualty of the move to Atlanta. It now takes me 30 – 45 minutes to get to/from the office. For many, this is nothing. For me, it has taken some getting used to.
It doesn’t snow very much or very often here in the south. When it does, it usually shuts things down…schools close at the mere mention and southerners with full refrigerators at home raid grocery stores for bread and milk. (Just what are we going to do with all that bread and milk anyway? Alas, a story for another time.) It started snowing around noon on this last Tuesday. Snow had been in the weather forecast. We all knew it was coming. However, schools were in, and we were all busy typing, phoning, and Facebooking in our little offices.
I left the office at 12:36 as it was starting to stick (bad sign in the south). Schools announced early closing. I thought to myself as I left the office, “Damn, I bet it’s going to take me an hour to get home.” Bedlam ensued.
Six and a half hours later, I walked through my front door. As I write this, there are still some cars in the area stranded. Pedestrians were leaving me in their dust as I sat in gridlock. I was one of the lucky ones, however. Some people took much longer, some stayed in shelters, and some school children spent the night at their schools.
It was surreal. People were abandoning their cars on the side of the road. That’s not the strangest thing though. People were also helping others, assisting perfect and imperfect strangers. I made it to within a couple of miles of my house when I lost traction. I was about to hop out and walk the rest of the way. Out of nowhere, someone on foot slid up, put down some salt around my front tires, and gave me a push. A few minutes later, I was spinning again. Two young men ran up, gave me a push, and before I knew it I was home.
I was really touched by the kindness of these strangers. Their simple selfless acts made me want to be a better person and rekindled some belief in the goodness of humanity. So, whoever you are, guys, thank you.