Having a snow day this week was unexpected. When I moved up here, people would scoff if I even mentioned the possibility, basically saying, “No. We don’t do that here.” But, turns out, it is done here! It was a little confusing to have an extra 18-ish hours on my hands, so (of course) instead of doing homework, I watched a lovely ’80s movie with a group of friends.

In the midst of a particularly intense scene of shoulder pads and bike-dancing (don’t ask…), a girl on our floor popped in and asked for a shovel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one just sitting in my closet, but it piqued my curiosity. It turns out her friend’s car was very snowed in on Summit. After some deliberation, the first hero of the day suggested we take our 15 bodies and 30 hands and dig her out ourselves.

We scurried off to grab appropriate car-rescue attire and arrived on the scene, ready for action. We removed as much snow as we could with our hands and pushed the car. It would not budge, especially because there was little to no traction and it was completely underloaded with white stuff.

More heroes arrived. A couple of women driving by saw our efforts, and (like any prepared Minnesotans) had a shovel in their trunk and donated it to the effort. We started scooping. Soon after, an awesome man with a bigger shovel, bigger vehicle, towline and four-wheel drive came by.  When as much snow as possible was cleared from around the tires, the towline was hooked up, the car was dragged backward and just like that – it was free!

I must admit that during the entire process, I was not much help. My hands didn’t make any difference. I lack Superman strength, so I wasn’t good at pushing. I am unknowledgeable about cars, so I couldn’t help with prepping for the tow. I basically watched.

But as helpless as I felt, I also felt privileged. I mean, you turn on the news and you see bloodshed and scandal and pain and tears and you wonder, ‘Why? What’s the point?’ But if you take the time, you can come to a college campus and observe love and care in action. You see people give up their time, help a stranger and make what could have been a completely crappy day into one that the stranger will be able to look back on and tell Minnesota jokes (“How many people does it take to dig out a car after a school-canceling snow?”).

It was inspiring to discover so many everyday heroes and, really, it made me want to be one.

8 Responses

  1. Lizzy's Blog » Snow Day!!

    [...] lounging around watching movies and occasionally doing some homework, and even ventured outside to dig a car out of the snow on Summit. It was such a fun day! On Monday night we got back to business and did homework for [...]

  2. Irene

    My daughter and I offered the first shovel. We agreed that we would both want someone to help her in a similar situation. It looked like even a small shovel would make the help already there more effective. Afterward, my daughter jokingly told me I was “weird” for stopping. I told her that acts of kindness are never weird. She agreed. It was fun to see it written about. I encourage everyone to add to the world by taking opportunities to choose kindness when given the opportunity. Together, we can make the world a better place.

  3. Harry, UST

    As the saying goes, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is indeed a blessing to be able to help others. Even if we can only do a little, it will be better than nothing, for it is our kindness that counts. As that saying puts it, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

  4. Joann Statsman

    What a truly amazing story! I also appreciate the “humor” regarding winter in Minnesota. Thanks for sharing and putting a smile on the faces of many.

  5. Kathy Weier, St. Louis

    Sounds like the snow day wasn’t wasted on you. You learned something pretty important even when there are school-cancelling snowfalls to attempt to deter you.

    I’m sure you made that person’s day for assisting to remove their car and you all probably felt pretty good about yourselves for offering assistance. Way to make the world a better place – which is all it takes to be a hero! I’m proud of you.

  6. Mark Vangsgard

    It was an amazing show of support and help for a person who would not have been able to do it herself. I happened to have a big SUV, shovel and tow strap … but I am not a hero. I am a Tommie and CFO of UST.