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NC residents help stuck drivers, sick patient during snowstorm

Posted February 13
Updated February 14

— Sometimes, the worst weather can bring out the best in people. Throughout the snowstorm on Wednesday and Thursday, people pushed cars through the snow, chipped ice off windshields, baked brownies for power crews and helped EMS workers carry a patient to safety.

One of those Good Samaritans was Dan Thomas, the manager on duty at Whole Foods on Tryon Road in Cary. By 2 p.m. Wednesday, he had already closed the store when people started knocking on the windows. Some were stranded drivers wanting to use the restroom. Others wanted coffee or just to warm up. Many were looking for something to eat.

“They were hungry, so we cooked some food for them and set up out here and let them have whatever they wanted,” Thomas said. “Our registers were closed. We had no way to ring up food, so we just gave it to (them). There was this one gentleman who came back today to pay for it. I really didn't expect it.”

About 100 people came through the doors after the store had officially closed. A few were unable to leave, including one young mother.

“She was stuck in the parking lot and had two little babies with her, so she couldn't (leave), and her husband’s out of town, so we had to do something for her to get her home,” Thomas said.

Thomas locked up the doors and drove the woman home, along with two other customers who were stranded. He says it's no big deal, but his coworkers say that's just the kind of guy he is.

“If I'd put myself in that situation, I'd want somebody to help me, so that's just what we do – try to help everybody we can,” Thomas said.

He wasn’t alone in doing good deeds. Several North Carolina State University students helped push drivers' cars out of ditches during the storm and declined to take any money for their efforts. Another man cleared off drivers’ windshields during the gridlock on Interstate 540 Wednesday.

About 30 people helped a Wake County Emergency Medical Services crew get a patient to a nearby hospital after the EMS vehicle got stuck on a hill on Van Dyke Avenue off Hillsborough Street in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Supervisors with 4-wheel drive response units were called to the scene to transfer the patient, who had suffered a cardiac arrest. The group of citizens helped EMS workers carry the patient to the waiting vehicle at the top of the hill. They also helped take equipment out of the relief vehicle to make sure there was enough space for the patient to be transported.

“Wake County EMS would like to offer our sincerest thank you to those that helped us on Van Dyke, and all over Wake County through the storm,” Jeffrey Hammerstein, district chief with Wake County EMS, said in a statement. “We often hear words of thanks from residents for being out working during severe weather, but we truly could not do our jobs without the support of those around us in the community.”

As paramedics drove to Rex Hospital with the resuscitated victim, the citizens continued to help. They grabbed shovels and kitty litter to help free the ambulance and get the crew members on their way.

Hammerstein said he would like to get a copy of any video that people shot so he can identify those who helped the EMS crew.

NC residents help sick patient during snowstorm

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  • rlgriffin2 Feb 17, 9:13 a.m.

    This is the exact opposite of what happened at the Food Lion on Timber Drive in Garner. They refused to sell diapers to a man with a baby in his arms because they had already closed the registers!!
    Way to go Whole Foods. You truly understand customer service.

  • sthiggs Feb 14, 2:45 p.m.

    Beautiful hearts!

  • ncprr1 Feb 14, 2:10 p.m.

    Well done to all who helped.And to the cameramen and photo people who stopped a lady walking 10... View More

    — Posted by mafiamic

    You don't expect WRAL to help anyone do you? They only care about scandal, tearing down... View More

    — Posted by disgusted2010

    Come on now, cut them some slack. They are liberal/obama supporters. They probably assumed that somebody from "the government" would be along to take care of everything.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 14, 2:07 p.m.

    So I helped what I think were the dumbest people I had ever met today. We saw some young folks digging out a car, mostly by hand, that had been driven off the road down an embankment. Now no way was it ever going to get out with out being pulled out. We hooked a chain up to the vehicle and slowly pulled it back on to the road. I noticed that they weren't getting in to drive away so I ask what are you waiting for, I mean we're in the road here. They said the starter is bad and wouldn't start. So now they're blocking the road with a broken down car. I wish I had never stopped.

  • disgusted2010 Feb 14, 12:48 p.m.

    Well done to all who helped.And to the cameramen and photo people who stopped a lady walking 10... View More

    — Posted by mafiamic

    You don't expect WRAL to help anyone do you? They only care about scandal, tearing down reputations and hearing themselves talk. Its all about 24/7 entertainment that hides behind the first amendment as news.

  • mafiamic Feb 14, 10:08 a.m.

    Well done to all who helped.And to the cameramen and photo people who stopped a lady walking 10 miles in the snow home after leaving her car and not offering to have her wait and take her home.Hope you and your boss are very pleased with yourselves.