On Tuesday, an explosion occurred in the Plaza – blocks from where I work. After that moment, the city seemed to physically pause. Each of us were glued to the television, Twitter, and Facebook to hear if our friends were safe. Our jaws gaped open at the stunning images of JJ’s burning, remembering the times of celebration and joy that we have shared within its doors.
Two days later, we are in a state of emergency. Snow fall came at a record pace, 3 inches per hour. No school. No flights. No “open” signs. The sudden severity of the snowfall caught many off guard, leaving people stranded and stuck. Interstates were closed at times, residential streets were impassible.
The challenges we have shared as a community this week have left holes, brought sorrow, and stopped us in our tracks. Despite all of this, one thing has seemed to weave and whisper through all the reporting, tweeting, and updating.
We saw the valor of the first responders who kept the fire contained and the area secure. We learned of citizens running into harms way to help another in need. We learned of the health care teams that pushed into crisis action, caring for the victims as instinctively as riding a bike. We heard of the local hotels opening up doors to the displaced, and the restaurants who fed them. We felt proud of restaurant staffers giving up shifts to those unexpectedly unemployed, allowing them to maintain an income.
We saw neighbors helping to shovel driveways and dig out cars. Emergency shelters being created with a positive outlook, and smiling face. People opening up their own homes to stranded travelers. Free tows to stuck vehicles. Even local employees at coffee shops and grocery stores giving extra care to customers needing help to get back home.
Conversations. Caring. Connection. Our city has leaned into each other like I have never seen before.
As we continue to mourn the loss of one of our own, we remain hopeful for the recovery and healing of the JJ’s victims who remain in the hospital. As we deal with cold and closings, we are thankful for the safety and security of our friends and family. And as we wait for relief and normalcy to return, we will continue to watch for The Good.
Follow #loveKC for continuing stories of kindness and citizenship.