Many New York residents found themselves stranded in the howling blizzard with nowhere to go during the winter storm last week. Among those was Jay Withey, a mechanic who had ventured out in his truck to help a friend who had gotten stuck. However, he soon got caught in the snow himself after saving a young man from the street who he saw walking around in sneakers and a light jacket.
He tried to dig himself out but the snow came down just as quickly. To make matters worse, his clothes were soaking wet and he only had a little bit of fuel left. Concerned for his life, he began knocking on the doors of nearby houses, asking if they could please sleep on the floor. Unfortunately, they all turned him away.
Defeated, he turned around to walk back to his car. Due to the thick snow and blustery wind, however, his vision became foggy and he soon found himself lost. Fortunately, he was eventually able to make out a blinking light in the distance, the same one that he parked next to.
After returning to the car, he called the police once again but was told that they wouldn’t be able to come due to the dangerous blizzard conditions. Exhausted, he decided to take a nap. He was later woken up at 11 p.m. by a knock at the window; it was an elderly woman who had been stuck on the roads since 4 p.m. He asked her to get in the truck as well.
By the next morning, his car had run out of fuel. Looking at his GPS, he realized that there was a local school nearby—one that would likely have heat, bathrooms, and food. Marching his way up there, he smashed through the windows with an extra set of brake pads, which set off the security alarm. Nevertheless, he entered the school and opened the front door so that the others could come in as well.
Gathering others in the area who had also gotten stranded in their cars, he told them to get inside the school. Altogether, there were about 10 people between the ages of 20 and 70. They eventually settled in the school cafeteria, where they scavenged for apples and cereal. They also found gym mats for everyone to rest on.
The following morning, they were able to free their vehicles from the show with snowblowers that they found in the janitor’s closet.
Prior to leaving the school, Withey fixed the window with cardboard and duct tape and left an apologetic note, which he signed “Merry Christmas Jay”.
With the public’s help, the local police were eventually able to find Withey, who they praised for his heroic efforts.