THE CONSEQUENCES OF UNCONTROLLABLE EVENTS
This past weekend we experienced the periodic challenge of winter weather coming to our southern city. The predicted snowstorm got everyone’s attention mid-week and by Friday we were in a full blown panic about the impending impact of snow and ice. Being one who spent 14 hours in their car trying to get from Buckhead to Marietta in 2014, I was very conscious and aware of every predication and made sure that our office closed early enough on Friday for everyone to get home safe and sound.
Saturday morning we awoke to a somewhat less dramatic result than anticipated; but still a problem for many due to icy roads and driveways. For most of us that meant a day inside and cancellation of activities and plans.
Saturday night my wife and I braved the roads and decided to head to the local wings restaurant for dinner and to watch the rest of the NFL Wild Card game. It was close and we figured that the roads weren’t that bad. The roads were worse than I thought and I was reminded why my subdivision has the word ‘Hills’ in its name, but we eventually made it. Needless to say, it was much less full than on a normal Saturday night, especially during the football playoff season. The server apologized in advance for potential slow service because they were severely understaffed. When I said something to her about her being there she made a comment that really hit home.
She said that she really didn’t have a choice; because if she didn’t work, she didn’t eat.
When we think about snow storms and inclement weather we think about inconvenience, maybe a day off from work, or the chance to snuggle up in front of a fire and watch football. If you’re a kid you look forward to those magic words, ‘School Closed’ running across the bottom of the local news channel.
But if you are a person living on the edge of poverty, you think about not getting paid because you haven’t worked. And if the school is closed you wonder who will watch your children while you are at work. If the bus is running late due to bad roads you maybe wonder about being late, and if your boss will accept the reason and not fire you. You wonder about the impact on your heat bill, which you can barely afford to pay as it is.
Living in, or on the edge of, poverty is a stressful existence. When uncontrollable events like inclement weather make that existence even worse, it adds to the stress and makes life that much harder. We can’t control the weather, but we can try and make sure that we support people as best we can. Being understanding about an absent or late employee, maybe paying a ‘snow day’ to our workers, volunteering to watch a neighbors kids if you’re home and they have to work. Even tipping a server much more than you normally would because you know that they’ll have a lot less customers that cold Saturday night. Pay it forward; you never know when you might get stuck in the snow – literally or figuratively.