Those of us who experienced the sub-zero Arctic Blast that hit Texas in February of this year will never forget some of the challenges that we encountered and overcame during that unique weather time frame. Shown below are just a brief sampling of those “Stories in the Storm” reinforcing the positive attitudes demonstrated by all of the resilient overcomers.
New year new me. It was mid-January 2021 when I added “spontaneity” to my New Year's Resolution. With that word in mind, my wife and I quickly decided to visit Colorado for a ski trip along with 9 friends. Four weeks later, all of us excitedly flew to Denver, jumped into a rented van and headed toward our Airbnb in Breckenridge, a 2-hour drive away.
Night had fallen by the time we stopped to pick up our ski rentals and groceries in a town only 30 minutes away from our destination. We were excited about the trip but also nervous about driving on the hazardous, icy roads. With only 100 yards of steep incline left to complete the drive, our van lost traction and slid back into a 4-foot-deep snow embankment.
Calling Roadside Assistance did not work; neither did digging snow with our bare hands. So, a couple of us walked to a nearby construction site, “borrowed” a few 2x4’s, and tried using them to leverage the van free. When that idea didn’t work, we regrouped, put on our “get ‘er done attitude”, individually grabbed our gear and hiked up the snow-covered hill to the lodge. We definitely slept well that night.
The next morning, we had our van towed nearer to us while we rested up from the previous night’s challenging “opportunities”. We then headed out to a fun day of skiing, followed by steam sauna, warm shower and fireplace fellowship. The following day was spent enjoying the amenities of our surrounding winter wonderland and building an igloo.
On Sunday, our departure day, more difficulties surfaced. Another stuck van coupled with no cell phone service caused us to miss our return flight from Denver to Dallas. Fortunately, I was able to book seats on a later flight that same day. Unfortunately, that flight was later cancelled. After spending the night sleeping in a chair at the Denver Airport, our best option was to catch a flight the next day to Newark. Due to a 9-hour layover, we spent another night trying to sleep upright in the Newark Airport with the PA announcements going off every half hour on the hour. Thankfully, it was an uneventful flight the next morning and we slept the entire 3 hours with smiles on our faces while dreaming about the joys of winter vacation travel.
The transportation from DFW Airport to our home was 3-hours later than anticipated but we gratefully accepted the wait and were thrilled to arrive safely despite the icy roads we encountered in Dallas because of an all-time worst arctic storm. The good news was our home was still standing…the bad news was we had no electricity, and our entire neighborhood had been without power for more than 30-hours…ugh, but oh well. Thankfully, the water lines had not burst.
At that point, my wife and I did not care because we were so happy to be home. We bundled up together in blankets, used candles and ate cereal with milk for the next several days and laughed out loud as we reminded ourselves of everything we had gone through previously. After all, we were safe, we were healthy, and together we had met every challenge head-on with a resourceful, joyful response. As a couple, we may have lost some sleep, but we never lost our peace, our patience, or our love for each another. Through it all we learned that we should be grateful that God is faithful and that we can be a beacon of light amidst the darkness of any storm.
— Paul Nguyen
While that week was a challenge for sure, we were able to make an adventure out of the time. In order to beat the cold while we didn’t have power in the house, we got out and walked to various local restaurants. The walks kept us warmer than we would have been in the house and we realized that there are a lot more places in walking distance that we want to explore as the weather gets warmer.
— Alicia Seaton, Vaco Dallas LLC
Change is never easy, but in the face of change, attitude, and perspective matter. The choice 2020 presented was to either focus on everything we lost or celebrate the small silver linings discretely woven between the trials and tribulations.
Yes, there’s disappointment from an environment built on relationships, collaboration, smiles, impromptu conversations, and hugs abruptly transitioning to isolation. The time beginning in March of 2020 to present has been uniquely challenging and intriguing.
Optimistically speaking, for me, the pandemic refocused a fast-paced life back to the simpler, basic elements. It offered more time, in the daylight, at home. My workspace view was taken from one of tall buildings and concrete to that of a pasture with grazing horses that I normally only saw on the weekends. My husband and I quickly developed a habit of meeting after work on the back porch to listen to our favorite music, watch the sunset together, and just talk.
Please do not mistake my message. A positive perspective does not diminish the ugliness COVID-19 brought with it. The illnesses, the deaths, the impact on income and families, and households turning into classrooms and parents into co-teachers. The hospitals overburdened with COVID-19 patients and people in need of treatment searching for a place to treat.
In every hardship is a hidden lesson, opportunity, and silver lining. I challenge you to find yours.
— Melissa Steger
So many of our Stars (employees) contributed to keeping our guests safe and happy over these challenging days of the storm. Here is one It has been a humbling experience to work alongside our Stars over the past few days taking care of our guests during this unprecedented winter storm. Many of our STARS stepped up and were willing to stay at the hotel over multiple nights, working in cold conditions, without power and limited rest. Through this past year we have asked you to “do more”, to work outside of your job descriptions and be a team player. This last week, we asked even more of you, and I was so incredibly impressed to see our STARS jumped in with both feet. Thank you for your endless efforts to take care of one another and our guests during these trying times. It is a privilege to work with all of you. I also send my most sincere well wishes to all our STARS that have been impacted personally by this storm. I know many of you have been without power and water through these last few days. Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your family.
— Gracie Vega