Nothing quite like the blizzard of the century right at Christmas time to bring out the good people! I found story after story of people helping others during the pre-Christmas blizzard … delivering pizzas to warming centers for the homeless, rescuing an elderly disabled man with severe frostbite, a barber turning his shop into a shelter, and much more, but the one I’m about to share with you is the one that stood out most in my mind.
Most of the time, you’d have the police breathing down your neck, maybe even chasing after you with a pair of handcuffs if you broke out a window in a school, then broke into the school. But the police are calling the man who broke into Edge Academy in Buffalo, New York, on Christmas Eve a hero. You may remember that Buffalo was probably the single hardest hit city in the U.S. by the blizzard named Elliott, with up to six feet of snow in some places!
On Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, a man named Jay, a mechanic in the town of Cheektowaga near Buffalo, had ventured out to help a friend whose car was trapped in the snow, but instead got caught in the snow himself. And he wasn’t alone! The first night, Jay rescued two strangers, Mike and Mary, by letting them sleep in his truck. The next morning, he was close to running out of fuel. One of the strangers was an elderly woman who needed to use a bathroom.
Checking his phone’s GPS he noticed that a school was nearby. Using an extra set of brake pads, Jay smashed through a window of the school so he could open the front door and let Mike and Mary in, with the security alarm blaring. And on the journey to the school, Jay noticed a number of stranded cars, some occupied by elderly people. He helped guide everyone inside the school where he scavenged for cereal and apples in the cafeteria, managed to turn off the alarm, and found mats in the gym for everyone to sleep on. Ultimately, Jay brought 24 stranded people into the school, including two dogs!
On Christmas morning, Jay and the others were able to use snow blowers from the janitor’s closet to free their cars from the mounds of snow. Before he left, he left the note apologizing for the break-in.
Although the alarm sounded at the Cheektowaga Police station when Jay first broke the window, police could not get there until the day after Christmas, by which time everyone had left. But the group did such a great job of taking very little food and cleaning up after themselves that police initially thought the broken window had been caused by the high winds in the area … until they found Jay’s note. According to a Facebook post by the Cheektowaga Police …
“When they were finally able to leave safely, you never would have known anyone was there. This group of amazing people cleaned up all the tables… and the building they found shelter in.”
Through sharing the school’s surveillance video on local media, police were ultimately able to identify Jay as Jay Withey and he is now being hailed as a hero. Watch …
This, my friends, is what a real-life hero is. I’d like to shake his hand, wouldn’t you?