Finding warmth in the snow and saying thank you

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Highway 31 through Hoover was a mess this time last Tuesday there were abandoned cars littering the side of the road and a lot of people desperately looking for warmth and eventually food.  The employees of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Riverchase were there to accommodate them.

“They actually stayed here Tuesday, Wednesday and went next door and showered at the Marriot and then they were right back at it the next day, but you know we wanted to be a place where people could stop and get food and then also be a source of shelter for the stranded motorists and anyone who needed it,” said Rosie McClure, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q.

Over in Mountain Brook- Highway 280 was a four lane parking lot after the roads iced over.  A number of stranded drivers found shelter at the Taziki’s restaurant nearby. At the Liberty Park Taziki’s location about 4o people spent the night in the restaurant, according to the 280 store manager.

“We really wanted to give to a community that take care of us every single day so we keep the doors open until basically people just left the restaurant because they have ways to go to their houses,” said Octavio Arzola, Taziki’s.

West Valley Avenue in Homewood wasn’t fairing much better.

Wrecks and abandoned cars backed traffic up past the door to Naji’s Pita Gourmet where the managers had already sent the staff home- when schools closed-   two of them wound up cooking for and sheltering a dozen very grateful people all night.

“We just took the day as it went by and then before we know it it’s like we realize that we’re not going anywhere. So they started the people that were here started questioning what are we going to do? And I said nothing. I’m staying in so you’re welcome to stay in with me. So they did,” said Samia Emaish, Naji’s Pita Gourmet.

“I’m sorry that they had to sleep on the booths, but they were comfortable it was warm they had food to eat we had the news going so we passed the night until the next morning.”

Family members of some of the unexpected overnight guests were also grateful. Some stopped by later to say thank you again or thank you in person for the first time.

“They were very appreciative. You know they came the next day even their father came in the next day. He said I need another hug from the lady that took care of my girls so it was nice to be appreciated,” said Emaish.

There are too many good Samaritans out there to name them all, but we continue to hear from people who say one thing they’ll take away from the freezing experience is faith in each other.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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