We survived! After days of gridlock interstates and highways, packed hotels, “snow angels”, offices and cars turned into homes, we are so thankful to report that we made it. It has been an adventure for many of our team members though. An adventure recorded through social media, email and the cell phone towers. Here are just a few stories.
It took me 14 hours to get home, my wife wrecked her car and we had to walk almost 5 miles. But we are safe.
April B (Marketing)
I left the office at 10:30 am. By 11:30 I had only made it one mile on Lakeshore. I had kids in 2 different schools about to let out. My husband was in California, and my dog was inside our house. Staying at the office was not an option. Getting home was my only choice. I parked my car under covered parking at Target (that was a good decision). I took a moment to buy a scarf, hat, warm socks, OJ and a banana. I ran into my chiropractor, also a Vestavia resident, and we decided to walk the first part of the trek together. I had a ton of adrenaline going, as I couldn’t get any calls to go through to make arrangements for my kids. In the end they got their own walk a crazy distance adventure (and they certainly weren’t dressed for it.) We were really fortunate.
This morning driving into work I had a strange feeling on Lakeshore. I realized it’s kind of the way you feel when you wake up the next morning after an epic fight with your spouse. It’s over, but there’s still a little rage inside.
Dan Van (Support)
Left the office at 11:30 Tuesday morning. Drove for 2 hours up to I65, which normally takes about 3 minutes. Decided to wait in line at a Best Western to find out if they had any vacancies since I didn’t want to get stuck on the interstate for the rest of the day/overnight. A church friend passing by that area on 65 called me and we were able to get the next-to-last room at Best Western. When we found the only restaurant nearby that was still open for lunch, a co-worker (Josh Rackley) called me because I had emailed the whole team that I had gotten a hotel room. A few hours later, a friend from college called me and joined us in our hotel room after seeing my post on Facebook about the hotel. We all walked to a nearby Walmart and got some snack food, water, etc.
The manager of the hotel where we stayed must have had to turn hundreds of people away because they had no more vacancies, but he was inviting people in and serving them food and coffee. There must have been about 40 people who stayed overnight in the lobby and the small conference room.
When we woke Wednesday morning, everything was still frozen and dangerous outside. Josh and I were able to serve customers from our laptops. In the late morning, since the sun was out, the ice started melting. In the early afternoon, we walked over to check out the situation on I65, and cars were able to get up the steep hill that we were most concerned with. By 2:15, we checked out of the hotel to brave the roads. I made it to my house in Pelham in about 30 minutes – which was an awesome surprise! I had to take extra care on the interstate to avoid hitting vans, cars, and even an 18-wheeler that were stranded and blocking some lanes on the interstate. It was like a real-life game of Frogger!