McDonald’s Workers Shelter More Than 50 People During Historic Buffalo Blizzard

Buffalo is still recovering from the historic Christmas blizzard that swept through the area in late December.

According to CNN, people ventured out in the storm for various reasons and some didn’t make it back alive. Others got stuck at work or trapped while driving home.

Photo: Flickr/Daniel Spiess License: CC BY-SA 2.0

Getting caught in a blizzard is no laughing matter, and it can be easy to become disoriented and lost even walking or driving short distances. It’s something Jeffrey Spangler, Kristin Kosha, and Amanda Kendall all realized when they were closing up the McDonald’s on Sweet Home Road in Amherst and noticed the weather starting to change drastically.

According to ABC 7 Buffalo, the employees realized it wasn’t safe to drive home with the current weather conditions and made the difficult decision to stay at the restaurant until the snow let up.

Photo: Pexels/Sebastiaan Stam

“It wasn’t safe to drive,” Kosha told the outlet. “We had to make the right choice for us…”

Hopping on Facebook, Kosha made a post to let people know they were welcome to come to the McDonald’s location if they needed to escape the winter weather. She wrote in the Buffalo Blizzard 2022 Facebook group, “Anyone stuck around Sheridan/Sweet Home area there’s a few of us that didn’t make it out in time – come to the McDonald’s I’ll let you in. I’ve got heat and I’ll make some coffee. Bills game will be on later.”

Photo: Flickr/Mike Mozart License: CC BY 2.0

According to ABC 7 Buffalo, it wasn’t long after sharing the post that local police and fire crews started dropping stranded motorists off at the McDonald’s location. In the end, around 50 people ended up finding shelter at the location, far exceeding Kosha’s estimate of 10 to 15 people.

She told the outlet, “We fed them, had the coffee’s going, hot chocolates. Saturday we had the Bills game on. They chatted amongst themselves, mingled and we kept them fed.”

They took in people of all ages and walks of life, including a 7-month-old baby!

Photo: Flickr/Stock Catalog License: CC BY 2.0

“You don’t really think about it at the time. It’s just common sense. You do what you have to do. You have a warm building and no one is in it…why would you not open it up?” she added.

While local emergency efforts fell below expectations, it’s nice to see how community members rallied together to help one another in a time of need.

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