Atlanta is a great place to live! Never was it more evident than when the winter weather hit this week … the snow storm that was supposed to “miss” Atlanta and fall south of the city, managed to hit us “head on!” Although it dropped less than three inches of snow, icy roads became the issue. In a city that rarely gets snow and has closed schools for the slightest threat of snow, we weren’t prepared for where the storm hit. We were supposed to get a “dusting” of snow, when in fact, we got a lot more!
I was on my way to show a home on Tuesday at 1 pm. After just a mile the road was so bad and slippery, I had to turn around immediately and cancel the appointment. That client’s mom had driven up from the next town over to view the home with them, and she was not able to return for two days!
As soon as it started to snow driving became unmanageable. There were dangerous, icy roads everywhere! Snow turned to ice on virtually all of our roadways creating a massive traffic jam, the likes of which most of us had never seen. It was a nightmare! One man walked 8 miles to his children’s school and ended up spending the night with the children and teachers at the school.
As school buses headed out loaded with children, many could go no further and had to turn back. Some ended up in a ditch or ran into other vehicles. Parents spent hours and hours picking up children who were 10 minutes away. Other parents couldn’t get home from work. Students were forced to spend the night at their schools.
Employers and employees everywhere left work in anticipation of the storm, but it was too late. Trucks and cars became stuck on ramps entering and exiting the freeways. People ran into each other while attempting to maneuver on sheets of ice. There were approximately 800 car accidents!
A baby was born in the car as driving became impossible! People were trapped in their cars overnight, stuck in gridlock with no food and water, and with children in their cars. It was a standstill on freeways and hundreds of cars were left by the side of the roads. Temperatures dipped into the single digits. Many people had 6 hour, 10 hour and even 21 hour commutes to go short distances to their homes.
In the midst of this awful scene, neighbors helped neighbors. Major grocery stores opened their doors to people who were stranded and allowed them to sleep in the aisles. Fire departments and restaurants opened their doors and made warm meals for those who were stranded. Teachers stayed overnight in schools with students, even with families of their own at home. People who lived close to the gridlocked traffic walked up and down offering food and water to stranded motorists.
People helped each other and made the best of the situation. Strangers helped strangers and friends helped both friends and strangers.
We all got through it. When the going got tough this week Atlanta showed the world what it is like to “love thy neighbor.” The experience made us all grateful. We are so very grateful to live in a place like Atlanta, where hospitality and kindness reigns!