Everyday Heroes

Having a snow day this week was unexpected. When I moved up here, people would scoff if I even mentioned the possibility, basically saying, “No. We don’t do that here.” But, turns out, it is done here! It was a little confusing to have an extra 18-ish hours on my hands, so (of course) instead of doing homework, I watched a lovely ’80s movie with a group of friends.

In the midst of a particularly intense scene of shoulder pads and bike-dancing (don’t ask…), a girl on our floor popped in and asked for a shovel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one just sitting in my closet, but it piqued my curiosity. It turns out her friend’s car was very snowed in on Summit. After some deliberation, the first hero of the day suggested we take our 15 bodies and 30 hands and dig her out ourselves.

We scurried off to grab appropriate car-rescue attire and arrived on the scene, ready for action. We removed as much snow as we could with our hands and pushed the car. It would not budge, especially because there was little to no traction and it was completely underloaded with white stuff.

More heroes arrived. A couple of women driving by saw our efforts, and (like any prepared Minnesotans) had a shovel in their trunk and donated it to the effort. We started scooping. Soon after, an awesome man with a bigger shovel, bigger vehicle, towline and four-wheel drive came by.  When as much snow as possible was cleared from around the tires, the towline was hooked up, the car was dragged backward and just like that – it was free!

I must admit that during the entire process, I was not much help. My hands didn’t make any difference. I lack Superman strength, so I wasn’t good at pushing. I am unknowledgeable about cars, so I couldn’t help with prepping for the tow. I basically watched.

But as helpless as I felt, I also felt privileged. I mean, you turn on the news and you see bloodshed and scandal and pain and tears and you wonder, ‘Why? What’s the point?’ But if you take the time, you can come to a college campus and observe love and care in action. You see people give up their time, help a stranger and make what could have been a completely crappy day into one that the stranger will be able to look back on and tell Minnesota jokes (“How many people does it take to dig out a car after a school-canceling snow?”).

It was inspiring to discover so many everyday heroes and, really, it made me want to be one.