By Heath Padgett, Class of 2016
Tuesday, January 18, 2014 started as a regular day at school. At first the only real difference from most school days was that it was cold. Just before first period began, several rumors started going around that it might snow. Living in Birmingham, AL, I thought to myself that everyone else was crazy and ignorant—Birmingham, AL, does not get real snow. By the end of first period, the snowflakes began falling. Still, as I strolled outside toward my second period class, I doubted that the cool, crisp snow would even stick. Laughing with my friends, I joked that we should be let out of school. Soon afterwards the announcement came: school was dismissed. With newly gained excitement, I rushed to my older brother’s vehicle. Phone lines jammed; chaos ran the campus. We were unable to get my younger brother without explicit parent consent. As a result, my older brother quickly found me and said that we needed to leave immediately. Rushing home, we honestly had no problems. We climbed and descended large hills with ease (later to find out that a car had flipped on the same road nearly five minutes later). It only took about fifteen minutes to get home. Some of my older brother’s friends, who left soon after us, headed towards our house too. However, it took them several hours to get there.
Coming inside after playing in the snow and trying to sled down the steep hill by my house, I saw the evening news on the TV and quickly realized that the day had not been smooth sailing for everyone else. ABC 33/40 showed coverage from 280 where hundreds of people had simply abandoned their cars in the middle of the higheway. Shocked, my dad and I walked down to 280 (as it is only about half a mile from my house). Seeing the enormity of the issue at hand, we decided that we must do something to help.
Soon after, we noticed a lady stumbling on the snow and ice. With a parched face and no decent winter gear, we asked the poor lady if she needed a place to stay the night. She readily agreed to our offer. Trying to keep her calm and out of shock, I asked her questions and talked with her. My dad went to look for some more people who needed help, while I took the cold lady to our house.
On the way home, I noticed that some Alabama boys’ dreams had come true. Not only was it snowing, but also these Alabama boys finally had a chance to show off and use their huge trucks. One of them gave us a ride to my house. At home I prepared a pot of soup, made some hot chocolate, and got the fire roaring.
Soon after, the front door opened. My dad walked inside shaking off his boots as another family came in. Wondering who it was, I peered around the corner to see that a Westminster family had arrived—our good friends the Edmonds. As their looks of distress soon faded, we all gathered together in warmth and hospitality. Eventually, we played games, laughed, and had fun with each other. These fun activities helped ease the stress of the day’s events and brought much-need warmth and peace to a frozen and chaotic day.