ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
63°
Clear
H 70° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    63°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 70° L 37°
  • clear-night
    39°
    Morning
    Clear. H 70° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    49°
    Afternoon
    Cloudy. H 50° L 30°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Terrible weather brings out terrific people
Close

Terrible weather brings out terrific people

Terrible weather brings out terrific people
Photo Credit: HANDOUT, not for resalej
Rite Aid at I-285 near Paces Ferry Road became a refuge for stranded travelers. Manager Joe Dudley hauled out beach chairs for people to rest on, let them sleep on the floor and bought them sandwiches to eat.

Terrible weather brings out terrific people

Staff writers Christopher Quinn, Shelia Poole, Bill Torpy and Craig Schneider contributed to this article.

Bad times brought out some of our best people.

Good Samaritans across metro Atlanta took food to thousands of stranded motorists spending the night on ice-locked freeways, helped push cars up hills, offered rides and places to recharge cellphones, and even invited strangers into their homes for the night.

During a 24-hour stretch when waits for an ambulance could stretch into hours, when nary a salt or sand truck could be spotted, when everything contained in a massive regional emergency plan put in place after the 2011 Snowpocalypse sputtered and stopped, the difference was made by neighbors, family, friends or anonymous angels.

“I can’t express how grateful I am,” said Trina Samuels, 28, who after eight hours on snarled secondary roads found herself stuck at the bottom of a frozen hill on Peachtree Dunwoody Road. That’s when Jim Walsh tapped on her window.

The Walsh family ended up hosting in their Sandy Springs home Samuels and two other stranded women, and Jim’s daughters were making crepes and coffee for them Wednesday morning as Walsh trudged back outside to help push more cars up that hill.

Walsh’s neighbors also took in stranded motorists. Their acts of care were repeated over and over throughout the snow-and-traffic-bound city. Such good deeds demonstrated that old-fashioned neighborliness succeeds even when a city’s emergency preparedness fails.

“Everyone in our little neighborhood of six townhouses took at least one stranger in,” said Candy Franks of Roswell. “It’s a testament to the goodness of people.”

On Wednesday morning, Connor Cassidy, 18, trolled Buckhead in his four-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler with big knobby tires, looking for stragglers. He used his towing straps to pull a van full of construction workers up a slippery stretch of Roswell Road, as onlookers gave him an ovation.

“People walking by were cheering,” marveled Cassidy, who is a student at the Ben Franklin Academy.

The young man then stopped to give telephone salesman Jim Johnson a ride back to Midtown, where Johnson had abandoned his car the night before.

“He’s a trooper. He went right through this stuff,” said Johnson, 49.

Pleas for and offers of help went out the old-fashioned way, by ringing church bells, and new-fashioned ways as well. Facebook saved many stranded Atlantans during the wintry mess.

The Facebook page SnowedOutAtlanta gathered more than 40,000 members in a scant few hours and bristled with people offering assistance. One commenter said the woman who started the page did more to help than all the governments together.

Lynn Wade, a human relations manager stuck on Abernathy Road after eight hours of fruitless travel, was nearly in tears Tuesday until her husband, Butch, found a posting that offering shelter at the nearby Weber School. An hour later his wife was eating a bowl of chicken soup and had a place to rest.

“They were wonderful and helpful,” she said.

Churches rang bells to notify those seeking help that their doors were open. About 100 people took shelter at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church on Mount Vernon Highway NW in Sandy Springs. The Rev. Michael Sullivan said some people just left their cars and walked over to the church, which is near I-285 and Powers Ferry Road.

Police and firefighters brought others. Sullivan said he spent much of the night on Facebook and the phone reassuring husbands, mothers, fathers and wives that their loved ones were safe.

Some businesses went above and beyond during the emergency. Joe Dudley, manager of the Rite Aid Pharmacy that sits atop the hilly intersection of I-285 and Paces Ferry Road, knew by Tuesday afternoon that his store would be in the thick of the action.

Before the night was over, Dudley had walked half a mile down the hill to an open Subway sandwich shop to buy 32 sandwiches to feed the stranded who had gathered in the store for a little warmth, some snacks and relief.

“All the hotels were booked,” Dudley said. “And people were coming in to get shelter and it just progressed. … At one point we had a whole load from a bus,” who had walked 3 miles up I-285 after being stranded for six or seven hours.

Dudley gave bottled water to neighbors from Vinings, who walked up and down the highway handing out drinks and snacks. Wednesday, near noon, the highway was still locked down.

Some rescuers, like Greg Sweetin, helped multiple folks.

Sweetin and several young women knocked on stranded Fauve Yandel Holihan’s car window to make sure she was OK and then asked if she would like to come to their house to sleep. They collected two more stranded drivers who were also put up for the night.

Sweetin and his wife, Kelly, also took in a friend’s daughter, whose mother was out of town and whose father couldn’t get home. Another friend, who owns a restaurant and lives about a mile away, sent her daughter with food on a sled for the Sweetins and their guests.

“I have three children, and I’d hope that someone would take my kids in and make sure they were safe and warm in this kind of situation,” Sweetin said.

“I slept on a sofa in the Sweetin’s living room,” said Holihan. “I can’t remember the last time I slept so soundly.”

Many of those who offered help were like Walsh, who seemed honored to have the opportunity to do something good.

“It’s nice to be able to serve others,” he said. “It really feels good.”

See other shout-outs to Good Samaritans at http://www.ajc.com/s/news/storm-shoutouts/

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Lawmakers in Congress on Sunday failed to reach a deal on plan to fund the federal government, meaning the work week will being with furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the nation, but there was a hint of progress as a Senate vote on a temporary funding measure was delayed until noon on Monday, with Republican leaders offering a plan which would guarantee a Senate debate on immigration matters in February, in hopes that Democrats would then help to fund the government in the meantime. “Let’s step back from the brink,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor late on Sunday evening, as he urged Democrats to allow the government to re-open, and continue negotiations on a host of issues, including immigration. “The shutdown should stop today,” McConnell added. McConnell outlined a plan to fund operations of the government through February 8, and said that if by that date no agreement had been reached on how to deal with DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the United States, then he would agree to bring the issue up on the Senate floor for debate and votes. That immediately won the support of two Republicans who have been trying to broker a deal on the issue. “The Senate should act like the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who endorsed the idea of regular order on the Senate floor on immigration. “This is more than a reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who spent much of the last three days shuttling between McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, and a host of Senators in both parties, in search of common ground. I'm very pleased to hear Majority Leader McConnell commit to the Senate that if we do not make a breakthrough on immigration by February 8th, the Senate will take the issue up under regular order. This is a more than reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader. — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 22, 2018 “It would be my intention to resolve these issues as soon as possible, so we can move on to other issues important to our country,” McConnell added. But Senate Democrats were not ready to accept, as Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer objected to McConnell’s attempt to hold a vote Sunday night on the plan for a temporary budget that would last until February 8, which is just 18 days away. Still – Senate observers saw that as a positive, as neither McConnell nor Schumer engaged in any scorched earth exchanges, unlike earlier in the day. To some, that may mean a deal is in the works. Supporting notion that shifting 1a vote to Noon Monday indicates deal is attainable: McConnell/Schumer floor remarks were short and generally absent political grandstanding and attacks. Theoretically, a positive sign. — David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) January 22, 2018 Originally, the Senate was to have voted at 1 am on Monday morning, but that vote was delayed until noon, as Republicans hope Democrats will re-think their opposition, and allow a funding measure to go through the Congress.
  • A 42-year-old man is dead following an auto-pedestrian collision Saturday night in Sand Springs. The fatality crash happened around 7:49 p.m. on Highway 97.  “Driver of the car that struck him, a 2002 Kia, along with witnesses reported that the pedestrian darted out in front of him going east through the intersection,” police said.   “The driver of the Kia was southbound in the inside lane and he had no time to react.” Police add 42-year-old Kevin Myers was pronounced dead at the scene.  No word on why he was trying to cross the road.  
  • There is good and bad news for your outdoor activities today. National Weather Service Meteorologist Ray Sundag says temperatures will be well above normal, but we could also get wet. “It will become party cloudy,” Sundag said.  “We will see a chance of showers and even thunderstorms as we move into the late afternoon hours.” The high will be right around 70 degrees.  For reference, the normal high for this time of year is near 47 degrees.   Temperatures will drop quite a bit Sunday night.  NWS is reporting mostly clear skies and a low close to 39 degrees.  
  • With no signs of any deal to restore funding for the federal government, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be back for a rare Sunday session, with no real signs of an agreement to end the first government shutdown since 2013, as both parties continued to point the finger of blame at each other. The main stumbling block continues to be immigration, and what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Dreamers in the United States, who were protected under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, which was ended by the Trump Administration in October. Republicans made clear – there is no deadline on DACA until March – as they said those negotiations should simply continue while the government is funded and operating. “I hope Senator Schumer comes to his senses and ends this shutdown madness sooner rather than later,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, taking aim at the Senate Democratic Leader. But for Democrats, they worry that the GOP will never deal on immigration and DACA, as their leaders have decided now is the time to press for action. During Saturday’s House and Senate sessions – where no obvious progress was made – Democrats continued to argue that Republicans were the problem, since the GOP is in charge of the House, Senate and White House. “Americans know Republicans own the Trump Shutdown,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). “Anyone claiming otherwise should double check who has control in Congress.” Instead of signs of compromise, Saturday was mainly filled with tough rhetoric from both parties. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s grade for his first year in office was a “big fat failure F.” With no evidence of any deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a procedural vote for just after 1 am on Monday morning, trying to force action on a plan to extend government funding until February 8, as he again blamed Democrats for the impasse. If Democrats hold together as they did late on Friday night, then that motion would not get the needed 60 votes to end debate, meaning the shutdown would hit government offices on Monday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “Congress has a lot of work to do” but it is being 'delayed by the Democrat’s filibuster' https://t.co/IU5LKpcVoB — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 20, 2018 Various federal agencies were still making their plans for Monday; one federal worker that I saw on Saturday evening said his office had been told to come in for four hours on Monday, and then they would likely be sent home if there was no funding plan approved by the Congress.
  • Hours after funding lapsed for the federal government at midnight, lawmakers in both parties returned for an unusual Saturday session of the House and Senate, as both parties quickly launched themselves into finger pointing over who is to blame for the first government shutdown since 2013, with few signs that a deal was near on the major spending and immigration issues that brought about the standoff. “Get it together,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bluntly said to Republicans in a morning speech on the House floor, as she led a chorus from her party in blaming the President for the budgetary impasse. “The Trump travesty continues, as it has for the last twelve months,” said Pelosi’s top lieutenant, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). But Republicans were having none of that. “We’re about nine hours into the Schumer shutdown,” said Rep. Greg LaMalfa (R-CA) as the House convened, “which is basically Senate Democrats holding the United States, 320 million people, hostage.” Greetings from the Capitol this Saturday morning, where we have evidence of the shutdown: Capitol tours are suspended. pic.twitter.com/rfPAlLLlIQ — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) January 20, 2018 “There is no excuse for this,” said Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA). “Democrats shut down the govt to protect illegals this week,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). Behind the scenes, lawmakers in both parties were still hoping to cut a deal that would have the government fully open by Monday – but there was little evidence of a possible breakthrough on the broader budget and immigration issues which led to this stalemate. Negotiations have centered on reaching a two year agreement on spending levels for the budget – as President Trump wants a sizable increase in the military’s budget – and on DACA, where Democrats were still hoping to get an agreement that would protect some 700,000 illegal immigrant “Dreamers” from being deported. As the clock ticked toward midnight on Friday night, there were a flurry of talks on the Senate floor between Senators of both parties – not really about the specifics of the budget or DACA – but mainly about the length of any temporary funding plan for the government, and plans to vote on that hot button immigration topic. “Since there were discussions here in earnest, in a bipartisan way, we ought to give those discussions a chance to bear fruit,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). “We should stay and work,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Senator McConnell chose to shut the government down,” referring to the GOP leader in the Senate. But the underlying issues remain fraught with political problems, especially on immigration, where many Republicans see no direct link between funding the government and a deal on DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers.” “This Schumer Shutdown is absolutely ridiculous,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “It is totally irresponsible for the Democrats to use government funding as a bargaining chip.” At the White House, there was no sign that the President was going to cave on Democratic demands on immigration, as officials accused Democrats of doing all they could to slow political momentum from a big GOP tax cut plan that was signed into law in December. One year into the Trump presidency, Democrats can't shut down the booming Trump economy so they shut down the government instead. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. Do your job Democrats: fund our military and reopen our government #SchumerShutdown — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 20, 2018 Democrats said they thought they were close to a deal with the President on Friday over DACA and other immigration issues, but that Mr. Trump backed off, again emphasizing the uncertainty that surrounds talks with the White House on major legislative issues. Even if the Senate were to approve a bill which combined provisions on DACA and the Dreamers, along with other items on border security, most Republicans say that would have little chance in the House, where GOP lawmakers favor a much tougher approach. One obvious difference between this shutdown and the one in 2013, is seen right here in Washington, D.C., where outdoor memorials and the Smithsonian museums were still open. Those were shut down by the Obama Administration last time, in what Republicans said was an effort to punish the GOP for a shutdown battle. FYI for anyone visiting DC this weekend: The @smithsonian museums WILL be open Saturday and Sunday. I was told they are not sure if they'll have to close Monday, though. They were waiting for guidance. — Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 20, 2018