Owners Doug Condon and Nina Richardson turned to Timmons to try to get their Toyota Rav4 on the road, but it got stuck. They invited her to their house to wait for the tow truck.
I was very lucky that my car crashed here, Timmons told CNN. It was in his flower bed. It wasn’t in the gutter. It wasn’t on the side of the road… I’m in a safe and warm place.
The bad weather lasted much longer than any of them thought. Five days later, Timmons was still living with the couple.
Texas has been ravaged by a severe storm since Sunday, leaving millions of people who are not used to such cold weather without electricity, water and heat.
In addition to stories of people struggling to survive, there are also stories of hope that show that Texas hospitality is a reality.
Timmons, who lives a three-hour drive from Houston, says she drives to Austin every week because the delivery market there is slightly more profitable. The 32-year-old made her last delivery on Sunday as the snow increased, thinking she had time to go home.
waiting for a tow truck that never came.
In the afternoon, she scrambled through the rolling hills to deliver supplies that were already a day late, including steaks for the couple’s planned Valentine’s dinner.
I went down very slowly and remembered to brake, Timmons said from her owners’ home in Austin. I pushed more aggressively and he still slipped out. My heart pounded as I drove straight toward their house, and I closed my eyes and prayed that I wouldn’t crash into their house, that I wouldn’t damage my car. I just knew – I really knew – that when I got to her, that would be my cue.
She texted the couple to let them know she was here with her errands and that she was stuck.
Condon got out and tried to pull his car up the steep road. Timmons said she tried to wait in the car and call AAA for a tow, but Condon invited her to get in the car.
With non-contact deliveries, Timmons was used to disinfecting before and after leaving the items, in addition to wearing a mask and keeping a certain distance, she says.
They invited me in, and of course I felt very uncomfortable going into a stranger’s house at that moment. But they were very friendly, she said. When I was invited, I sat in his kitchen for two hours with my mask on.
She kept calling the tow truck and went back to her car to wait. A few hours later, the tow company said they couldn’t safely reach the area because of the storm, she says.
When we found out that AAA wasn’t going to make it and that conditions were deteriorating, we thought it was stupid to propose it in a hotel, Richardson said. She never got inside our heads.
Richardson and Condon had received the first Covid-19 vaccine just the week before as part of Phase 1B. The couple said he would not leave Timmons out in the cold.
The day passed into night, and soon supper was at hand. It was Valentine’s Day and the couple prepared a steak with blue cheese, broccoli and salad. She said the food that night was much better than Timmons had imagined.
I certainly didn’t expect my Valentine’s Day to go like this, Timmons says with a laugh. We had a great dinner and I sat down, I was warm, I got to eat, and it was just incredible, and I thought it would only be for one night, but here I am, on the fifth day.
Meanwhile, Timmons learned that the power had gone out in his Houston apartment. If she came home, she would just live there with no electricity.
They watched the weather every day and Timmons and Condon tried to make progress with their car. They cleared small sections of the driveway and tried to fill them one by one.
We used a broom and a shovel to clear the road as best we could, Condon said. We thought we had made it clear enough for her to get up. She got up halfway and got stuck.
She wanted to leave, but the owners insisted she stay.
Every time Timmons offered to rent a hotel room somewhere, the couple worried about the situation they would end up in.
Our bed and breakfast is better than the Hampton Inn, Timmons told him. When you leave, what are you going to eat? Are you sure you can do this?
Over time, the group began to feel more at ease, and it was as if Timmons was a guest in the couple’s guest room.
We had an exciting week with insane weather and a surprise guest, which turned out to be quite an experience, Condon said.
The couple’s dogs, Crosby and Haddie, soon began to sit on Timmons bed and snuggle up against her.
She quickly became a part of the family, Richardson said.
Timmons helped the couple cook a meal. Someone was cooking pasta and someone was working on other parts of the meal, Richardson said.
Timmons made a coconut cake to thank the couple. We were definitely the beneficiaries of their bakery, Condon said.
Condon and Richardson hope others will do the same for a stranger in need.
We hope that if our daughters were in a similar situation to Chelsea, there would be someone who would treat them the same way we did at Chelsea, he said. I don’t think we ever thought of that.
The couple and Timmons said they plan to stay in touch. On Friday, the weather calmed down and Timmons was able to drive safely to Houston under bright sunshine and clear roads.
I am so grateful that they were able to do that, but also that they unhesitatingly agreed to allow a complete stranger into their home in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a storm, Mr. Timmons said. They just opened their doors, opened their houses and said come in and relax.
I am so grateful to them and I am so happy to have arrived here, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the world, she said.