As the East Coast begins to warm up (slightly), one Kindergartener has her father to thank for making the immobilizing snowstorm not quite so bad.
On Tuesday, 5-year-old Elizabeth Nilson found herself stranded at E. Rivers Elementary School in Atlanta when buses couldn't make the rounds to bring kids home, and hazardous road conditions prevented parents from picking them up, reports Adam Murphy of CBS Atlanta.
Since Elizabeth had never spent the night away from home, her father decided to walk six miles through the snow so he could stay with her at the school.
"I just knew Elizabeth would be a lot more comfortable with me there," Mark Nilson tells the Good News blog. "I brought a blanket for her. I just wanted to put her to bed and leave her at ease."
The snowstorm crippled the Southern city for most of the week after gridlock conditions left thousands of cars abandoned, and alternate routes similarly jammed. Due to last-minute planning, everyone left work and school at the same time Tuesday afternoon, causing a mass exodus right as the snow tumbled to the ground. Ten thousand students reportedly had to spend the night at their schools Tuesday, some even longer. Others were stuck on buses.
Fortunately for Elizabeth, the oldest of four Nilson kids, she made it home on Wednesday.
"It has obviously been a unique experience," Mark comments, describing the hike through congested streets to get to his daughter's school. "I took the main road - Peachtree Street - for a few miles. I passed buses spinning out, and a lot of cars having difficulty getting up the hills. People were not moving, there were a hundred cars just in place. People were putting groceries on the top of cars so their ice cream wouldn't melt. It was a wild scene."
When Mark finally made it to the school, he arrived to a giant slumber party. The faculty had set up mats in the gymnasium for the kids to sleep on, along with large television sets where movies were playing. They served up pizza, popcorn and drinks, and made breakfast for the students the next day.
More than 100 children and 35 teachers and staff members had to spend the night.
"The teachers did a fantastic job," Mark says. "I slept with Elizabeth, wrapped her up in a blanket and made a pillow out of her coat."
The school dubbed the whole experience a "snow-cation," and surely Mark earns some kind of parenting award for his noble deed!
As of today, most Atlanta schools remain closed, though colleges are slowly beginning to reopen.
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