Updated: 'I don't work here, I'm just helping people'
Updated 1:33 p.m. Monday.
Ray George of Tolono shared this story Monday morning. We thought you’d like to read it, but even more, we thought other folks might have a story to share as well:
"So my car is buried in a foot of snow with 3 foot ice chunks behind it from snow plows at my hotel at the (St. Louis) airport. I contemplate when I see a guy walking towards me with a shovel and a broom. He approached me and asked which car was mine. I pointed to it and he proceeded to begin the big dig. Between us, we had my car completely clear and ready to go in 10 minutes. I tried to give him a tip and he refused. I said look, you work here, you are out here helping people, you deserve it. He replied, 'I don’t work here, I’m just helping people, I have the time and a shovel.' Pay it forward, people."
Do you have an anecdote to share? Please send it in an email to email@example.com. Include your name, what town you live in, and a phone number where we can reach you. (We won’t publish the phone number.)
Update: Here's another, from Jan Dobson of Urbana.
My driveway was snowed in more than I thought I could shovel myself so I decided to take the bus to work. I was walking toward the bus stop in the middle of the road because the sidewalks weren’t clear. A lovely woman stopped her car and asked where I needed to go. When I told her she told me to get in and she would take me there even though it was the opposite direction of where she was going. I told her she was an angel as I accepted her offer and got into her warm car. I didn’t even think to get her name. I just know she works at Carle and made my morning a whole lot easier.
Update: Here's another, from Ann Hart of Mahomet:
My daughter Maggie had a flat tire on I-74 yesterday when the storm was just beginning. She has practiced changing a tire. I haven’t changed a tire since the ’80s. I am sure we would have gotten it done but it probably would have taken a while and crouching on the highway shoulder, with semi trucks whizzing past, seemed like a bad place to test our skills. While she and I were preparing to change it a wonderful man from the highway department stopped and changed it for us with more speed and efficiency than we could have. The men and women of the highway department go out in the worst weather to salt and clear roads, day or night, on holidays, birthdays, whenever. They are not supposed to change tires for stranded motorists but this time a good heart won over the rules. Thanks guy and if we ever see you in a restaurant, the coffee is on us.
Update: Here's another, with a slightly different perspective, from Anna Williams of Champaign:
My roommate and I went out last night for a quick, late-night errand. On the way there we saw a car stuck in the intersection. We didn’t stop because there was no good place to put the car without worry of it being hit. I felt bad. I’d want someone to stop if that was me stuck. On the way back home we saw someone stuck in a turn from a main street to a side street. This time I didn’t hesitate. We stopped. Between my roommate, myself, a random resident out shoveling, and the driver the car was out in less than 10 minutes. Within a block of our apartment we saw another car in the same position, stuck when trying to turn on a street that hadn’t been plowed. Again, we got out and helped. That one took about 15 minutes, but the car made its way back to the main road and got parked safely. My parents always said help when you can help because if it was you in the predicament you’d hope someone would do the same.
I saw lots of people paying it forward yesterday and today. People shoveling neighbor’s sidewalks, driveways... helping shovel out cars. Champaign is a strong community when Illinois weather comes barreling down!