An event that happened 13 years ago today was one the scariest things that has happened to me in my life. I was prepared in a lot of ways, but in some ways, I was not.
I am always the type of person that likes to be prepared. I plan very carefully, I try to keep as organized as possible and due to having anxiety, I tend to think of situations in every way possible so that I am prepared. I wish I didn’t think like this, but I do.
Despite this, life likes to throw us curveballs. We can never truly prepare or plan because life changes and it changes very often.
Here’s The Story
I was in my cubicle 13 years ago today. I was working away like usual when a mass e-mail was sent out to the entire company from my boss. We had been made aware of a winter storm approaching, but the news was now calling it an emergency as the storm had intensified and was moving much faster than anyone ever expected.
Suddenly, it seemed as though the entire world was leaving their jobs, schools, and wherever they were to get home. I remember packing my belongings and rushing out of work to head to my apartment at the time. I lived only about 30 minutes from work. Little did I know, I was not going to get home in 30 minutes…nowhere near…it would be hours and hours later.
The Drive Home
The snow was falling fast and heavily. I had no idea what I was about to go through.
I started down the back roads, driving very slowly. I didn’t have an issue with the smaller roads, but once I approached a large main road, I was shocked. I found myself at a standstill very early on. I watched a sea of traffic and lights. The world was still, we were moving nowhere. You could see traffic from every angle going in every direction. Packed and inching forward. There was a mass exit from multiple cities and states, which led to this disaster.
Minutes turned to hours. I found myself getting scared. I remember texting my family and friends. We were all keeping tabs on each other. No one had ever experienced anything like this. Most of the time, my car was at a complete stop. I remember keeping my car in “park” most of the time because I couldn’t keep my foot on the break any longer. Fire trucks and ambulances passed me, too many to count. It started to become dark as early evening set in, and I began to panic.
The snow was falling hard and fast. I was hungry, thirsty, and cold. My wipers couldn’t get the snow off fast enough, so every now and then I had to jump out of the car and clean my windows off.
The Nightmare Continues
I am a grazer; I like to snack all day long and I drink tons of water. I always kept plenty of water and snacks with me whenever I was at work and in this case, it really came in handy. Especially after a long day at work, I needed some fuel. Sirens passed me over and over again as we crawled at a snail’s pace.
Hours more had passed. I was in shock and disbelief that this was really happening. I was cold and wet from having to get in and out of my car so often. Some people got tired of sitting and they got out and stood next to their cars. We just simply were not moving. We were there…stranded.
It was now pitch black as night fell. My water and snacks were consumed at this point. Our cars inched along. I was running low on gas, but I knew that I wasn’t far away from my apartment. I made a turn to get onto the road that took me home and then as if the night couldn’t get any worse, my car died. The battery had been taxed for so long and it was a much older car that it just gave out.
My car battery happened to have died in the middle of the road. Cars were still crawling along, but they had to maneuver to not hit my vehicle. I was so scared that someone would crash into my car. I went to the trunk of my car, wrapped myself in a blanket, and walked across the road and to the nearest gas station, which thank God wasn’t too far away. Not only that, but this particular gas station had an auto service center. I remember a man in a white work van rolling his window down and telling me that it was going to be okay. He must have seen the traumatized look on my face. It meant so much to hear those words.
What Do I Do Now?
I walked inside in a panic and told the cashier that my car had just died in the middle of the intersection and what he did next surprised me.
The cashier walked into the auto center and came back with a gentleman that walked outside with me with a jump box in hand. We walked across the snow-covered streets to my car that thankfully was still in one piece. He jumped my car, and I was able to make it home. I thankfully was only a few minutes away from my apartment when this happened.
I couldn’t believe that all of this happened to me in just one day, one snowstorm. What should have taken me 30 minutes to get home, took me 7 hours. I am still floored by this today. I will never forget this memory. The day that the world came to a screeching halt.
I remember feeling so blessed and being so thankful to every kind soul that helped me this day. It all made a tremendous difference. When all was said and done, this massive storm left us with almost 4ft of snow.
I remember going home and taking a hot shower. My roommate and I put a pizza in the oven as we warmed up and tried to recover from such an unexpected experience. The next day, I packed a suitcase full of clothes and necessities and I put it in my car. I knew that I would hopefully never need it again, but the extra warm clothes would have been so helpful in this situation.
This experience really shook me and to this day, I still keep that same packed suitcase in my car.