Those who brave the elements

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You better be coming back for those snow ridges you have caused. SnowKing1 via Wikimedia

Appreciating those who keep the city functioning through snowstorms

If I mention to you the snowstorm that took place on Tuesday November 16, I’m sure you’ll know exactly what day I’m talking about. You’ll probably have your own set of stories about not being able to get out of your driveway or street, seeing countless vehicles stuck in various places across the city, or about the snow day that schools got. No matter where you were or what time you experienced it at, there was no way for any of us to avoid that storm.           

But what about those who don’t have the luxury of complaining about the storm from the comfort of their own home, those who are forced to go out and brave the elements? I’m talking about more than just the first responders who were out there. I’m talking about the tow truck drivers, all the crews that were removing snow, and the electricians restoring heat and power to our homes, among many others. We sing the praises of our first responders often and we should, as the work they do certainly warrants it, but we cannot forget about those who are the foundation of our cities during these types of storms. Without these unsung heroes, we wouldn’t be going anywhere.

Think for a moment about anytime that you’ve been forced to stand outside when it’s cold and blustery. Maybe that’s been a few minutes while you wait for your parents to unlock the front door to your home, or maybe it’s curled up in an ice-skating shack trying to thaw your fingers and toes after hours on the rink. Now, I want you to think about being that cold, or even a little bit colder, and being required to continue to be outside, trying to maneuver through piles of snow all while dealing with a distressed stranger. Welcome to being a tow truck driver.

How about any time you’ve panicked as the car you’re in, or possibly operating, hits a patch of ice and your back end fishtails behind you? If you think that’s hard while driving through streets that have already been cleared, try being the person clearing them, not knowing how much ice might be underneath all off the freshly fallen snow.

It is easy for us to sit back in our warm homes and complain about the storm raging outside through the night. It is another thing to be one of the people who must brave the elements and pray that they can do the job that is required before the world wakes up and keeps going. The world would cease to move if it weren’t for these brave souls going out and doing the work that the rest of us would be incapable of performing, ensuring that main roads are cleared, that sidewalks and parking lots have been shovelled, and setting down salt and sand to ensure that we have traction for both our cars and feet.

I would never be able to go out in the middle of the night and begin that process without being terrified, knowing that someone may lose control on a patch of ice or not slow down when passing me stopped on the side of the road. Going to work and knowing that the biggest workplace hazards are the unknown things brought forth by mother nature and the other individuals who are doing whatever they can do to also return to their nice, warm beds must be terrifying.

For those who put themselves in the way of the elements to ensure that the rest of us can keep moving forward with our day to day lives, I commend and appreciate everything you do.

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