We are a family at Alagasco, and, like any family, we pull together in a crisis. Tuscaloosa Supervisor Robert B. says he truly felt that bond in January, when a rare winter storm paralyzed much of Alabama, stranding thousands of people on the road.
His 26-year-old daughter, Astin, is a nursing student at Virginia College. She left home at 5 a.m. to go to Shelby Baptist for clinicals. She didn’t eat breakfast and she was running low on gas. Like so many others, she found herself trapped and unprepared on the interstate in an endless traffic jam, caused by icy, snowy roads, stranded vehicles and a rush of people trying to beat the weather.
Robert was worried about his daughter and wondered if Eric T., System Integrity supervisor, was nearby on I-65.
“When I gave him my daughter’s location, turns out he was only a mile or so behind her. I gave him her cell phone number and vice versa. They were able to talk and keep in touch, ” said Robert.
Eric said they talked about how hungry they were and what she would do if she ran out of gas.
“I told her to try to get her car close to the side of the road, then she could come and get in the truck,” he said.
Around midnight, Astin told Eric she didn’t feel well, so he left his truck and started running toward her car on the interstate. A first responder who was checking on stranded drivers saw that Astin had passed out. She kept tapping on the window until she opened the door. The first responder checked her blood sugar, and realized it had dropped to a dangerous level.
Eric was on the scene when Robert’s daughter was loaded in an ambulance for treatment. He called Robert and updated him on the situation.
“I along with my family, would like to thank Eric for his willingness to help and be there for our daughter,” Robert said. “He didn’t give it a second thought.”
I did what anybody would do,” said Eric, who spent the night the truck and was stranded there without food until 1 p.m. the next day. His family was also stranded – his wife spent the night at work and his children spent the night with friends. But he knew everyone was safe, he said.
His willingness to help out in that emergency situation truly touched Robert. “Even with his concerns for his family, he still showed compassion for our daughter,” Robert said.