This has been a winter for the record books. We’ve had droughts, a Polar Vortex, multiple feet of snow in some places…a few debilitating inches in others.
The latter notoriously befell Atlanta not long ago. It was a test of everybody’s mettle, with some commuters stalled on highways and others holed up in convenience stores and other places until roads were passable.
The ups and downs of the day were vividly illustrated at one of our child care centers in the Wildwood office park on the northwest side of town. On a typical day, any parent who works in downtown Atlanta would have had a 30- to 45-minute commute to the reach the center to pick up their child on the way home from work. During the recent snowstorm, now affectionately called Snow Jam 2014, many parents spent HOURS trying to travel just a few miles.
Several of the parents who finally made it to center realized there was little hope of making it home and no hope of securing a hotel nearby since they quickly filled as the situation deteriorated throughout the afternoon. Some parents simply couldn’t get to the center at all.
Bright Horizons center goes above and beyond
The center director and staff made dinner for nearly 30 people: children whose parents were unable to pick them up, and parents who made it to the center but then didn’t want to venture back out into the storm with their precious children. One staff member even left the center only to return with needed items to provide food and shelter for those stranded at the center for the night.
The staff then set up cots and sleeping arrangements. Equally important, they reassured the children whose parents hadn’t been able to make it to the center. When everyone was settled for the night, some of the staff took the opportunity to catch up on paperwork.
Regrouping after the storm
Although the snow had stopped by morning, the roads were still not passable until nearly noon. The center staff made sure that breakfast was served, provided engaging activities for the children, and saw to it that everyone had a good lunch before braving the trip home. Center parents came to the rescue as well. Several fathers showed up with shovels to dig out the center’s parking lot and salt the walkways in the morning. This ensured that those still waiting to go home could have safe passage when they were ready to brave the highways.
All told, it was an illustration of dedicated people who never stopped to check their job description before preparing dinner for the children and their parents. They saw a need and jumped on the opportunity to provide a safe and warm environment for those who desperately needed it. It also showed the value of having child care you can trust. Can you imagine the sense of relief each parent felt that night knowing that their child was safe, warm, well cared for, and with a familiar friendly face?
A grateful thank you
Thank you to the staff of Bright Horizons at Wildwood for being a wonderful example of how an historic snowstorm (even though it was only two inches) can actually be an opportunity to positively impact the lives of others. I can guarantee that the parents whose children remained in your care through the night will be forever grateful for your kindness.
May we all be inspired by their example.
To learn more about Bright Horizons’ child care and back-up child care, join our Feb. 27 webinar: Moving Forward with Back-Up Care.