Take Care of Your Snow Plow Driver and He Will Take Care of You

This is not a cry for help, but we are having a lot of winter this winter in the Washington D.C. and Mid-Atlantic region.  Up to 250,000 homes have been without power, including my home and neighborhood.  A man who works with me has been out of power for nearly a week.  We are breaking the all-time snowfall record of 54 inches for one winter.  The air is white with it just now and blizzard-force winds are blowing it sideways.  We have the heat turned up and the candles and flashlights laid out and ready.  There have been discussions about portable generators and other preparations.

View from our deck

Due to my recent hip replacement, I am not in snow shoveling form and my wife Karen is handling this task.  I have lived in the DC area since 1973 and never has the snow shoveling task been like this year.  We measure our snows now in terms of feet, not inches.  Inches are hardly worth mentioning.  In our subconscious we do realize there are parts of the country for whom winters like this are normal and expected.  But they are not us.

Were it not for those who go out in this mess to plow our streets and answer emergency calls and take doctors and nurses to the hospitals and climb power poles to replace transformers and downed power lines and pull slid-off-the-road cars back to the road and haul them off if needed and find where trees have fallen across the roads and chainsaw them into pieces and haul them off and drive ambulances through unploughed neighborhoods to get to stroke and heart attach victims and many other things I can only guess at, we would be lost and desperate.  (The previous sentence is intentionally complex and confusing because that’s the way things are now.)

Karen was out with her snow shovel awhile ago and a snow plow came into our court.  It made a couple of rounds and then I heard conversation.  Karen was telling the driver what a good job he was doing and how much she appreciated it.  I was amused but not surprised.  This is the same wife who gave our mail person a $40 cash tip just before Christmas.  She has given other things to such people in these situations.

How did our weary snow plow driver react to this appreciation?

Well, he made numerous additional trips around the court with an emphasis on our place.  Karen was still standing with her shovel and watching.  He used his big machine almost like a shovel, carefully getting as close as possible to curbs, cars, driveways, and mail boxes.  This saved a ton of hand shoveling.  When he finished and started out of our court, Karen thanked him again with an excited wave.

There are fellow citizens in these situations who take a different approach.  They holler and complain loudly about snow piles left behind and lack of service for all the tax money they pay.  They make angry phone calls and write angry letters to county officials.  They get their blood pressure raised and faces all red, feet stomping, irritable with their spouses for hours afterward.

I like Karen’s approach the best.  Most times it actually works better, and not just for snow plow drivers.

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