When record cold temperatures, heavy snows and power outages hit Texas this week, many were stuck in their homes or stranded on the roads.
U.S. & World
For Chelsea Timmons, it meant spending six days living with generous strangers who took her in when her car became stuck in their driveway.
Timmons wrote on Facebook that she had traveled to Austin, Texas, to deliver groceries and make "some extra money as everyone tried to prepare for the winter storm." She planned to leave the city around noon to drive the three-hour route back home to Houston and accepted her final delivery order from HEB, a grocery store, at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.
"Road conditions were becoming poor, so it took me a little over an hour to pick up their order and arrive at their home," Timmons wrote. "Their home sat lower than the main road so their driveway was at an incline. I (began) my descent down the hill. Very cautiously. I crept downward remembering to tap my brakes and not slam them in icy conditions. I tapped, but the car continued at the same speed. ... I panicked and slammed my brakes, but my car continued forward down the driveway."
As she realized that she had lost control of the car, Timmons wrote that she "braced herself for impact" and thought of "every imaginable worse-case scenario," but luckily, the car rolled into a flowerbed and stopped against a tree.
"Luckily, I didn't have enough momentum to cause damage," Timmons wrote. "I was safe, car was undamaged, their property was safe... but that tree was a goner!"
Timmons wrote that she unloaded the couple's groceries and let them know what had happened. She was able to turn her car around, but the icy driveway was too much for the vehicle to manage: After several failed attempts to get up the slope, they decided to call a tow truck rather than risk damage to the car or home.
However, since many other Texans were dealing with the same weather, car service AAA told her it would be an hour or two before a truck could arrive. The couple allowed her to wait inside, but more than six hours later, a tow truck still hadn't appeared.
"Around 6PM AAA said my location was "inaccessible due to current conditions," Timmons wrote. "I tried to get an Uber/Lyft/taxi just to get me to the hotel a few miles away so I could stay for the night. But obviously if tow trucks weren't getting through, neither were cars. Conditions worsened and options dwindled and eventually the couple offered their guest bed room to me for the night!"
"These people let a complete STRANGER stay the night!" Timmons continued. "Not only that but (they) cooked me a STEAK DINNER! Definitely not how I imagined my Valentine's Day!"
As the weather conditions continued, so did Timmons' stay: In the end, she stayed with the couple for six days. NBC News affiliate KXAN identified the couple as Nina Richardson and Doug Condon.
“At some point we realized that we’re probably gonna have a houseguest for a few days, which was fine,” Condon told KXAN.
"Every morning, when I suggested leaving to a hotel, (they would ask) 'Could you make it there safely?' 'What would you eat?' 'What if they lose power?' 'Isn't the guest room better than the Hampton Inn?'" Timmons wrote in her post, which was published on her fifth day with the couple. "They basically have refused to let me leave. Every morning, after they say 'No worries, stay a bit longer,' I go to 'my' room and shed tears of joy."
Timmons said that despite the weather, the house still had power, water and heat for the duration of the storm. The groceries that she had delivered on Sunday afternoon kept them fed. Timmons said that they were even able to clear the driveway enough to get her car up the incline so that she no longer needed a tow truck, and one day, she baked a cake to show her gratitude.
"How AMAZINGLY BLESSED am I right in this moment?" Timmons wrote. "Blessed that HEB curbside delayed their Saturday delivery ... to Sunday. Blessed that I hit 'Accept' (on the order). Blessed that out of all the places for my car to get stuck, that it was in their flowerbed and not a ditch. Blessed that they were willing to let the 'Delivery Driver' into their home in the midst of a pandemic. Blessed that during the time of a food shortage, they were willing to share their meals. Blessed that they liked my coconut cake ... Completely BLESSED all the way around!"
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: