Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Lesson: Corporate America Sucks, But People in general are cool

It snowed last night in the DC area. And everyone freaked out like usual.

Go ahead and make fun of us, all you wintry Midwesterners. We freak because we don't get snow that often and we don't know how to deal with it. That's my excuse.

On top of our usual disorganization when it comes to handling snow, the snow came fast and heavy during rush hour. It was snowing buckets by 4pm. Yes, buckets.

I worked yesterday and at 4pm when the snow started, my manager reassured me that I would be able to get home later that night "no problem." He left within the hour before the accumulation got to be significant, driving his extremely large SUV/truck thing (I know nothing about cars.... but I do know that his car can definitely take on the snow).

My car is not an SUV or a truck and doesn't have 4 wheel drive. In fact, it's basically a sports car. So it's low to the ground and light as a feather. Oh and it's over 10 years old.

We didn't get the OK from the higher ups to close up the restaurant until almost 8pm. I finished cleaning the bar and waiting for a few guests to finish up and leave.

The road directly in front of the restaurant was decently plowed.

Hmmm, I can totally make it home. I thought. Just sloooow driving, Kelly.

WRONG ! As soon as I pulled out onto the main road - aka a road that hadn't been plowed by a private contractor - it was a nightmare!

Slow and steady. I repeated, even when the car next to me fish-tailed dangerously close as we stopped at a red light.

I was inching my way down the road when I suddenly saw a back up of cars. As I got closer I see that there IS A FLAMING CAR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.

While the sight of flames coming out of the snow is rather impressive, I decided it was time to turn around. In attempting to make a u-turn, I got stuck in a pile of snow. Of course. Just my luck.

Eventually a truck pulls up and two men jump out and run around my car. As they start to push I hear them yelling, Go go go! This was rescue #1.

A little ways down the road. I get stuck again. This time a guy walking down the street comes over with some advice (aka stop spinning your tires, crazy lady). And then he pushed me out. Rescue #2.

As I tried turning into the parking garage by my work (yup, headed back to square 1), guess what?!? I got STUCK, AGAIN! Another truck pulls up and offers to tow me into the parking garage. That's right, he hooked up some rope and pulled me across the intersection. As he unhooked the line, I asked him if this is what he always does when it snows - ya know, rescue people. He said, "Yes. It gives me an excuse to play with my big truck." You are a superhero, my friend. Rescue #3.

I got back to my restaurant as my (other) manager was leaving.

Whatcha gonna do, Kelly? He asks.

I don't know. I can't get home.

That sucks! See ya! Oh yes, my company truly cares about their employees.

Luckily the Chinese restaurant next door was still open. So I sat with the other stranded people, wondering if I was going to end up sleeping on the floor next to the bar (There ARE worse things, right?).

But then I called Z. and as soon as he heard the sound of defeat in my voice, he found a solution (you know men and their need to fix things). His 'rents live close to my job and they also have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, hurrah! 20 minutes later my ride shows up. Rescue #4.

So the two things I learned from this snowy experience:

1. Corporate America Sucks. I work for a corporate restaurant. And like any corporation, they care about one thing: MONEY. Keeping the restaurant open just in case the snow isn't that bad seems like a good money-making decision. However, it also put my life at risk and left me in a tough situation. What if I hadn't been so lucky? I could be in my car in a snow pile along the side of the road. Or sleeping on the floor of a Chinese restaurant. Or trying to walk through deep snow in my restaurant work shoes to get to my (not within reasonable walking distance) mom's house. Sometimes profit is NOT worth it.

2. But People in General are cool. Thank you to all my superheroes! Gracias to the latinos with the truck who quickly pushed me out of the snow. Thanks to the random dude walking through a snow storm who basically told me to stop driving like a dumbass and pushed me out of yet another snow trap. And the crazy truck guy who towed me to safety (I'm sure he had a grand ol' time rescuing others just like me). And to Z's 'rents! Who not only rescued me from the Chinese restaurant, they also fed me, gave me a glass of wine, a bed to sleep in and a ride back to my car in the morning!

Oh and guess what? It's supposed to snow more tomorrow....

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