Woman who drove 104 home in snowstorm 1 year ago recalls day
By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — Beverly Elders Cross looked out her living room windows, and she could see the snow falling.
She was doing laundry when she thought she better go to the grocery store to stock up on necessities, just in case the snow continued to fall. It was Jan. 28, 2014.
While driving, Cross realized the snow was already sticking to the roads. At the store, she texted her daughters, who were at Hewitt-Trussville High School, and asked them if anything had been said about school letting out early.
Twenty minutes after arriving at the grocery store, the roads were covered in snow, the traffic terrible.
“My daughters called me and said they decided to go ahead and let them leave but they couldn’t get out for all the cars that had got stuck trying to get up the hill,” Cross said.
Cross began making her way toward Hewitt-Trussville High School, having never used the four-wheel drive option on her Chevrolet Suburban, “but I turned it on and prayed.”
U.S. Highway 11 was a parking lot. Cross’ daughters told her they were going to start walking. Cross reached the Trussville Sports Complex when she saw a man walking, attempting to get to his mom, whose car slid into a ditch on Happy Hollow Road. Cross drove him to the neighborhood at the other end of the complex, where he got out and she picked her girls up.
Once they got back to Hawk Ridge Drive, the hill that parallels Hawk Ridge Estates and runs into Hidden Trace, cars were already scattered all over the road. Cross was able to drive up the hill. By the time Cross and her daughters got home, they saw people walking through their neighborhood, most carrying bags, some even wearing high heels. Cross walked outside and asked a woman and her three children if she could drive them home.
“It started there and I just kept driving through the neighborhoods finding people who were walking,” Cross said.
She drove people to their homes in the Magnolia Place, Hidden Trace and Glen Cross neighborhoods. She’d drive her Suburban to the intersection where Hawk Ridge Estates backs up to Hidden Trace and wait for people.
“The road was blocked by cars at that point so people were either walking to the top or some really great guys on four-wheelers were bringing them to the top,” she said. “I would just load them up and take them where they needed to go.”
Cross said she couldn’t stand the thought of people walking home, freezing and uncomfortable.
“I just knew I had to help,” she said. “There was no way I was going to sit at home and not help. I could never do that.”
By 10 p.m., Cross had taken 104 people from the roadside and their abandoned cars to their homes. She only stopped at 10 p.m. because her gas light had been on, alerting her that she had just one mile of driving time left.
“Everyone was so sweet and so thankful to be in a warm car,” she said. “You know, when I pray I always ask God to put me in a position to be a blessing to someone. I’m so thankful He put me in that position that day.”
Some people offered Cross gas money. She didn’t accept any of it. People hugged her. One woman stopped by Cross’ house a week after the snowstorm, just to thank her again for helping that day and night.
It made me feel so good to have been a blessing to so many people that day,” Cross said.
If snow begins to fall and accumulate like it did a year ago, Cross said she’ll help out again in a heartbeat.
“As crazy as it may sound I enjoyed every minute of that experience,” she said. “I met so many sweet people and just knowing that I made their lives a little easier, if only for a few minutes, is such a wonderful and rewarding feeling.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.