The last week and a half has been an unusually rough time for many Texans, as ice and snow storms whipped through the state.
Trees fell, power went out, water lines froze and people were forced to scramble and find ways to stay warm, as temperatures dipped below freezing.
Ice and snow are a way of life for plenty of people in many places, but not for Texas residents. Texan homes and the state’s infrastructure were designed to withstand extreme heat — not extreme cold, and that shift threw many communities into a tailspin.
Many sought refuge in hotels that still had access to power and water during the coldest, darkest days of the storm. Desperate for shelter, one family in Houston braved the conditions to get to a La Quinta Inn, only to be turned away because they didn’t have enough money for a room, according to People.
Captain Marcus Kinnard-Bing with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office shared what happened next on his Twitter account.
“D5 CRU responded to a call at a local hotel where a patron couldn’t afford the room for the night,” he tweeted. “Being that he has a family with small children and the inclement weather, Deputies paid out of their pocket for the family to have a room for the night.”
D5 CRU responded to a call at a local hotel where a patron couldn’t afford the room for the night. Being that he has a family with small children and the inclement weather, Deputies paid out of their pocket for the family to have a room for the night. @HCSO_Patrol @HCSOTexas pic.twitter.com/S88j7AEIUF
— Captain M. Kinnard-Bing (@HCSO_D5Patrol) February 18, 2021
The post gained traction, and it wasn’t long before others were chiming in to offer assistance for the family as well.
“Great job by those deputies,” one commenter wrote. “Capt. Kinnard-Bing, if you can have someone cruise by there and see if those folks need a room tomorrow night, please contact me if they do. I’d like to pay for it for them.”
Great job by those deputies. @HCSO_D5Patrol Capt. Kinnard-Bing, if you can have someone cruise by there and see if those folks need a room tomorrow night, please contact me if they do. I’d like to pay for it for them. @SheriffEd_HCSO
— Cy-Fair Mechanical (@Cy_FairMech) February 18, 2021
“Same here Sheriff and Capt. Bing please let us know if they still need a room for Friday, I’d like to pay for it,” another chimed in.
More offers flooded in, with some people offering to reimburse the deputies, while others thanked them for their above-and-beyond service and generosity, which must have been a blessing for the family.
“These random acts of kindness make all the difference these days,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter. “I commend these deputies for their compassion.”
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) February 18, 2021
Some questioned why the hotel didn’t extend the same sort of generosity to the family, saying that the hotel missed out on a great opportunity for some wholesome public relations.
Similar stories have played out in Texas as residents and business owners have done their best to support their own.
Neighborhood groups have been abuzz with people asking for and offering firewood, charging stations, water, showers, diapers, food and other necessities.
People and businesses with pools offered water for flushing toilets.
Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture in Houston opened up his store for people to stay in, keeping over 300 displaced residents sheltered and offering them a place to sleep and food to eat.
As power is restored, pipes are fixed and things go back to normal, the chill of Winter Storm Uri will fade — but the memory of these Texas-sized outpourings of generosity will remain.
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