It often takes an event like Tuesday to get deep, to get to the inner layers of a community. The essence, or the fabric, that binds individuals together. Time and time again over history, we see the unity the comes from the impact of tragedy. Strangers who are immediately turned into companions with the common goal of overcoming the difficulties at hand.
This kind of unity transcends so many boundaries. It is the kind of thing you need to have happen once and awhile. Just to keep us honest with ourselves. I was in downtown Woodstock having a meeting at Copper Coin. My brother (Dr. Mark) and I left the coffee house at 1:11pm. Drove down Arnold Mill Rd until we got to the Bark Station, just past the firehouse where we came to a standstill. 3 hours later we made it into the parking lot of The Kings Academy, where we parked for the night.
I must say, witnessing the traffic build on 92 and 575 made me grateful we were so close to home (6 miles). So we parked the car and hoofed it to my neighborhood. Along the way I was able to make some observations.
First – nobody stopped to ask me and my brother if I needed a lift. I was shocked that it never happened, but when I reviewed the picture of myself with him that my wife took when we got home, I realized I wouldn’t have picked me up either!
Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal, as we probably looked like we had it under control. I say this, because I forced my brother to run/jog for many sections. It was worth it, get the heart rate up, and increase warmth. Our toes both felt fine throughout, which is often the big issue.
I heard one guy in a truck, absolutely screaming in disgust at a man driving too slow, and too cautiously. As a 24 year veteran of the Northeast, I will attest that there is a minimum speed that should be maintained most of the time, and there are many people in this area who don’t know that rule… but to yell in frustration, during this… awful. So fortunately, the other observations that were made.
- There was a significant number of people willing to take us in. Along the way, I was offered a place to stop, stay, eat, etc.
- Unlikely hero’s exist – I had a high school girl on a four wheeler offer to help us, until she heard how far we were going, but that’s cool that she was willing to help!
- We walked past people, and had people pass us coming towards us. Though I initiated the conversations, they surely happened easily. Everyone wanted to talk, it was like this common thread was enough to make us all good friends.
And so the more important observations… the ones from around the city.
- Restaurants, gyms, movie theaters open their doors to anyone who straggles in, giving warmth, and sometimes food with no request for anything in return.
- Homes were opened up to complete strangers to spend the night.
- Restaurant managers stood by the road handing out free food to crawling traffic.
- People took multiple trips back to the same buildings/schools to rescue people, and get them to safety. And in many cases, these trips were taking two hours to complete.
All in all, the pros win over the cons. The Atlanta people are generally very good hearted people in the face of this kind of adversity… it is good to see. And they step up to the aid of others in need. My only concern, and it might be a small one, is why do we look so different in crisis than in everyday?
Does it really take an event of this magnitude to rally a city behind fair and loving treatment? We are going to be pushing the edge on loving and living. We hope you will partner with us to help inspire more similar action, all the time.
Be well and Be blessed! Thank God you are safe! - Dr. E