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Stuck in the Snow

A man pushes a car out of deep snow Thursday afternoon near the Dickens Street bus stop. (Photo by Brooke)

When I got up Thursday morning, I almost didn’t want to look outside. As I stood in the kitchen, fumbling with the coffeemaker, I slowly raised the blinds and peered out into the snow-covered wonderland in front of me.

I looked at my car, nestled safely beneath the parking shelter. Then I looked at the driveway — and by driveway, I mean the mountain of snow occupying the area that used to be the driveway. Sipping my morning cup of caffeine, I brooded over the task ahead of me: getting to work.

School closures and travel advisories flashed across the TV screen during the morning newscast. The meteorologist said something about a police-issued travel advisory. I kept waiting for something like “Breaking news: entire city of Missoula shuts down for the day” to scroll across the top of the screen. No such luck.

So, I bundled up, pulled on my snow boots and ventured into the great white abyss. The fact that I was able to successfully back my car out of the driveway was nothing short of a miracle. During my half-hour commute to work — a drive that usually takes about 10 minutes — I saw more slips, slides and hazard lights than I have ever seen in one morning.

When I was getting close to my office, I turned onto the side street where I usually park. After a few seconds, I noticed that I was no longer moving forward. My engine churned. My wheels spun. Clouds of exhaust rose into the cold, predawn air. I was stuck.

Remember that post I put up a few weeks ago — the one about staying calm when your car gets stuck in the snow? Yeah, that didn’t happen. After several minutes of totally freaking out, I got out of the car and tried to dig my wheels out. I think I made a couple of inches of progress, but I was definitely still stuck.

Then, out of nowhere, a pickup truck appeared. It drove past me at first, but then stopped and backed up. The driver got out, walked over and asked if I needed a hand. He told me to put the car in reverse and lightly tap the gas while he pushed from the front. A few seconds later, I was free. My Good Samaritan introduced himself as “Tyler,” and then, like a superhero, he was off.

So Tyler, if you’re reading this — thank you! Kind people like you make Missoula an awesome place to live, even in the midst of a giant snowstorm.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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