"We were heading to New York from Toronto and were stranded by the worst snowstorm. Joe from the "Alabama Hotel" came to the rescue and saved us." "I was heading back home in Toronto and got stuck on the road. I don't know what would have happened to us if it were not for Joe."
These are just a few of the thank-you notes on the Google Review on Monday to the Alabama Hotel, a restaurant with a deceiving name, located in a small city of Basom between Buffalo and Rochester, New York. The restaurant offered a place to stay, just like a hotel, to some 100 people stranded by the biggest snowstorm in 45 years.
The City of Buffalo is a passage for many tourists between Niagara Falls, Canada, and the heart of New York State. The restaurant owner Bonnie Woodward, manager Joe Bradt and the rest of the staff at the Alabama Hotel decided to help those stranded by a historic blizzard during this Christmas holidays when the number of people passing the area peaks. After preparing make-shift beds with restaurant chairs and warm coffee, they posted on Facebook inviting people who got stuck on the road and had nowhere to stay.
Then, magic happened. Neighbors started to bring blankets and sleeping bags to the restaurant along with food such as meat, ham, bread, and hot chocolate. Some residents even towed cars stuck in the snow to the Alabama Hotel with their vehicles and equipment. More than 100 people could find shelter for those 48 hours from December 23 to Christmas Eve. Those who were provided shelter first wiped the restaurant floor before they left so that those who came after could stay there warmly and comfortably.
The restaurant manager Joe Bradt posted on Facebook that he was with some 100 strangers and their kids from Ohio, Maryland, and California and that it was deeply moving to see strangers helping out strangers. One stranded wrote on social media that this Christmas miracle could be well made into a movie.
Residents in Buffalo, hit by the historic blizzard, are weathering the crisis together by helping neighbors in need. In one case, a mother turned to Facebook for help posting a message about her one-year-old baby who needed a ventilator to breathe and her home without power due to snow. That went on for four days, killing at least 27 people. People from the neighboring city of Niagara Falls traveled to rescue them and arrived there on Christmas day. They helped the baby and the mother, manually pumping breaths to the baby, get safely to a relative's house. ABC News reported that "Good Samaritans" trekked for 15 minutes after realizing they could not drive due to the storm to help the mother and the child to get to the relative's house.
Hyoun-Soo Kim firstname.lastname@example.org