Man shows outstanding generosity to stranger with sick father as hurricane Irma approaches
In times of adversity, the kindness of strangers really stands out. And, as hurricane Irma approaches Florida, there are few adversities greater than this.
The storm, which has already torn through the Caribbean and the Bahamas, has prompted Florida officials to issue warnings to residents of the state. A mandatory evacuation of over 5 million people is underway, but not everybody is able to leave. For those that are stuck, stocking up on vital supplies is imperative at this time.
In Pam Brekke's case, one particular item was key to her father-in-law's survival: a generator. He needs it to power his oxygen tank, as he is currently battling congestive heart failure. However, when the Orlando resident rushed to the store to get one, she found that they'd all been taken already.
“I had heard on the news just before I left work that they had 150 generators still in their store, but they were going fast,” said Brekke, who travelled 30 miles to get to the store. “I got there just a couple of steps too late.”
“I was upset. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I was here during the ’04 hurricanes and I know what they’re like. During Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne, we were without power for seven days for each of those storms.”
However, Brekke's panic was soon remedied. Another shopper, Ramon Santiago, had witnessed the woman's distress, and approached her with an incredibly selfless offer. Santiago had picked up the last generator in the store, and was about to pay for it, but he saw that Brekke needed it more. So he gave it to her.
“At first, I said, ‘Oh, no sir. You need that for yourself,'” Brekke said. “I started walking away but he said, ‘Ma’am, this is yours. You take this generator.’ I told him that he was my angel.”
Their exchange was caught on video by news anchor Nancy Alvarez, and was posted to Facebook. The clip has already been viewed over 18 million times, and messages of praise and thanks have been pouring in for Santiago.
Alvarez had been on the scene to report on the approaching storm, and just happened to catch the wonderful moment on camera.
“I had just wrapped up my shift on the morning news, I was standing there with an arm full of batteries and it just played out right in front of me,” Alvarez said in an interview. “He just walked over and said, ‘I’ll give you my generator.’ We all just started crying. It was ridiculous.”
Santiago, who does not speak much English, also spoke with Alvarez. His words show the true meaning of humanity, and his attitude brings hope in the midst of so much despair and destruction.
“He really believes that God played a role in all of this,” Alvarez said, translating for Santiago. “He’s saying, ‘let’s take this moment that we’re all here for each other, helping each other out and extend it beyond the hurricane. This storm is going to be out of here and when it is, let’s remember how we feel right now.'”
As Irma draws closer to the US coast, it is important that we look out for each other, and help out as much as we can.