Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The worse the weather, the kinder the people

Julie Wallace, Chronicle assistant managing editor, gives some encouragement to her rescuers. Her car was stuck until Chronicle photographer Bruce Bishop (taking the photo) happened by -- with his tow rope.

The weather story for today is about what's left in the wake of the storm -- the bitterly cold wind and the drifts.
But perhaps the biggest story is the one about the kindness of people who are willing to help out those who are stuck or stranded.
Bruce Bishop, our chief photographer and videographer, drives some big old manly Ford SUV. I called him this morning when I couldn't get my Maxima out of the driveway.
"Bruce, please come get me," I asked him.
He was at my house in less than a half-hour.
That was Kindness No. 1.
As we were getting off I-90 at Route 57, we passed a car stuck in a drift on the off-ramp. Bruce backed up his man-car, rolled down the window and asked the young couple inside if they needed some help getting out.
"I have a tow rope," he told them.
"That would be great," the driver said.
Bruce climbed out into the cold and attached his tow rope to their back bumper and his front bumper. And then he backed up.
Voila. The car was out of the snow bank. Bruce undid the ropes and as the driver was saying thanks, Bruce was urging him to subscribe to The Chronicle. "Only $37 a year for new subscribers," he told him.
Kindness No. 2 -- and slick newspaper selling, also.
Later, cruising around looking for pictures of the storm on the city's north side, Bruce passed a house where a car was stuck in the driveway. He looked again. Hey, that's Julie Wallace, he realized. Julie is our assistant managing editor and she got stuck on her way into work.
Bruce pulled her out.
Kindness No. 3.
And he's the only guy I know out and about with a 4WD and a tow rope. I know there have to be many others out there.
Me and my Maxima, speaking for every other person who drives a not-so-good-in-the-snow-pretty-car, want to say, "Thank-you, 4WD and SUV owners with big hearts."
Where would we be without you?
Stuck, that's where we'd be.
Oh, and cold. Very cold.

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