Friday, May 27, 2011

Shelter me

Most of you have probably heard about the storms that ravaged the Midwest this past week. Tornadoes have touched down in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and beyond. To date, the death toll from storms this season is close to 500.

The tornado sirens have gone off here a number of times in the past week. They went off two days ago and continued to sound for about an hour.  At the time, my kids were in their first day of summer camp. They were out with a few other kids at a Burger King playland when the sirens first sounded. Burger King would not let the kids shelter there and turned them away (seriously? - FU Burger King), so their childcare provider drove them across the street to a Commerce Bank.

The employees at the bank were much more accommodating. They allowed the kids to take shelter in their vault. They spent the next hour and fifteen minutes sitting under a desk inside the vault. The bank employees brought them lollipops and coloring paper and even brought a storm radio into the room.

When the alarms finally stopped I tried, without luck, to get a line out to call the childcare provider. All Sprint lines were down for the next two hours due to the storm. She was able to get a message through to me, however, and asked me to email the other parents, which I did, to let them know the kids were okay.

While several small tornadoes touched down in the area, there was no damage that I'm aware of here. One of the local weathermen did take this picture on Tuesday of the skies above downtown Kansas City.



Today the kids and I baked some chocolate chip cookies and took them down to the Commerce branch where the kids had sheltered. We thanked the branch manager and the rest of the staff for their kindness and hospitality during the storm. They remembered the kids and were happy to see them.




They unlocked the vault so the kids could show me what it looked like on the inside.



They even volunteered to show me how they had huddled under the desk.




Joplin, Missouri was the hardest hit of all the towns. 132 people lost their lives as a result of the tornado that devastated the town on Sunday; however this is expected to rise as 156 are still  unaccounted for. Since the hospital was destroyed in the tornado, the health system is especially strained.











If you're here in Kansas City there are a number of efforts underway to help our neighbors in Joplin. Otherwise, you can text the word JOPLIN to 80888 on your cell phone to donate $10 via the Salvation Army.

Today I'm grateful for the generosity and compassion of our neighbors here in the Midwest, especially those at Commerce Bank who opened their doors to offer shelter to a group of frightened kids during a particularly bad storm.




42 comments:

  1. So glad you and your family are safe.

    I can't believe Burger King literally sent a group of children out into a storm. Shame on you Burger King staff. Shame.

    The footage is just horrific and we have been thinking of the storm victims.

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  2. I cannot believe that ANY business turned the children away! Smart thinking by the summer camp people, and wonderful bank staff.

    I think it's lovely that you baked cookies for them. You're a lovely, thoughtful, gracious mama.

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  3. Really, Burger King? From what I understand tornadoes touch down suddenly and unpredictably. Sending the kids out was grossly negligent.

    Mother Nature is certainly pissed. Reckon it's time we listened to her.

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  4. Wow. Just. What a bunch of jerks! Who refuses shelter to ANYONE in that situation, let alone a group of children?

    I think of my midwestern friends a lot these last few weeks. I just sit here hoping that these storms cease and everyone is okay! Since I stress so much about it, I can't imagine how much you all stress about it.

    (On a related note: if I ever was in a tornado, or near one, I'd pee my pants in fear. I'm completely serious. I'd be found in the fetal position, sucking my thumb and wanting my mommy. I lived in places with hurricanes and earthquakes, but we get a tornado watch here and I want to cry. Really.)

    Stay safe!

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  5. I don't get it either. You think they'd at least let them sit underneath a table! I can't even fathom sending someone out into a storm with the sirens going off, let alone children.

    Every time there's a clap of thunder now the kids come running into my room. There have been several nights they both have slept in my bed!

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  6. Holy cripes, those photos... I love that you baked cookies. I'm appalled at the Burger King staff. Fools. Who in their right mind sends children back outside when there are sirens sounding??

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  7. my mumma posted that first pic too its crazy!
    Im so glad your kiddies were safe and good on you Burger King idiots!

    Ive been petrified for my mum but so far so good fingers crossed

    xxx

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  8. Wow - those photos are so scary. It must have been a frightening time for you guys, so I'm so glad everyone's ok! xx

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  9. @ Tara - I thought of your mum on Wed when the storms came through because there were some bad cells right down by her. Glad she's okay. xx

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  10. So scary! I have read so many posts about tornadoes over the past week. I'm so glad you and your babies are safe.

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  11. I'm completely staggered at the idiocy of those people. Just can't believe anyone could be so clueless.
    My 16 yo son rang me once from boarding school to say they were huddled inside because there was a man with a gun wandering around the school, so I can relate to that fear of Someone Else being in charge of your child when there's a potential disaster looming.
    Thank GOD for people who keep their heads and keep our kids safe!

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  12. That's a cool story amidst the horrors you guys are having.

    VAV

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  13. I'd say they were probably a lot safer in the vault!!! So there may be a hidden blessing in that one. Glad your kids are safe! I am so sorry for the devastation that has hit your area. So awful. I pray that everyone recovers as best as possible, and that your government and every other capable hand is out there helping.

    I can't believe the amount of disasters that have hit the globe this year. Truly unbelievable.

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  14. Actually, on second thoughts thinking about it - it is probably a good thing Burger King turned them away - being in a building full of fat and oil and gas, it is more likely to explode in that situation, so they were much safer in the bank.... Maybe there was method in their madness

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  15. @ Andrea - I agree, also lots of large windows in BK. Though in retrospect I'm disappointed the kids didn't grab mom a handful of cashola while they were in the vault. Ya know.

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  16. @ Toni - A man with a gun in their school!? How scary. Wow.

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  17. Holy crap! Thank God the kids are okay. Thank God for the Commerce Bank, who opened their doors and it seems, went above and beyond the call of duty. So nice you were able to go back with the kids to say thanks.
    What a frightening thing to go too, and I'm especially thinking of all the people affected. Just tragic.
    Stay safe - and sheltered! xo

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  18. wow, scary stuff. glad they were in the vault, surely nice a secure.

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  19. I have been so worried about you and your children, every time I turn on the news here there are scenes of devastation that are too much to comprehend. Go on you Commerce Bank staff and lets all boycott Burger King - what a crap attitude.

    That photo is so scary and amazing all at the same time.

    Stay safe. xxx

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  20. Commerce Bank. They give me hope for humanity, truly. And Burger King? Yeah, I am a McDonalds girl, through and through.

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  21. Those images are horrific. I can't believe BK sent children out into a storm like that. Hopefully that'll be the last Whopper Burger for a lot of people! Sending love to the victims and hope that the recovery process is swift.

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  22. I'm guessing Burger King like so many fast food places, Maccas, Hungry Jack's, Pizza Hut etc, probably has large expanses of glass and maybe they were worried about breaking and flying glass injuring the kids. It's one reason why they'd turn them away?
    Anyway, I'm glad there was a bank nearby which allowed them to shelter there.

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  23. So, so scary Kristin. You must have been beside yourself not knowing if your kids had shelter xx

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  24. FU Burger King indeed. How much money do they make out of kids every year? But even that is irrelevent: you don't turn away kids when there's a possibility they are in danger. Unbelievable.

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  25. OMG what lovely people at the Commerce branch. I'm so glad the kids and you are ok.

    Those photos are just horrific. My heart breaks for everyone affected.
    xxx

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  26. Now that is something to be grateful for. I can't even fathom what your kids have been through. So glad to hear they are OK.

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  27. I am absolutely amazed that the Bank Staff allowed the children into the vault it will break all the security rules and would have been an insurance nightmare if something went wrong. Well done to them for letting common sense and safety overcome rules, but my word, you should be grateful that they were prepared to risk their jobs to do it. How lovely that you went back to say thank you. And what a mess the storms have left.

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  28. How unbelievably scary! I cannot believe Burger King turned away people. Thank goodness for the common sense of the bank staff.

    We have been enduring some awful weather in Queensland, Australia, but I truly would not like to experience tornadoes. They are just so sudden and unexpected. And random. Those Joplin photos broke my heart.

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  29. Glad to hear you and your children are okay. Thinking of you, Wendy

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  30. So glad you and your children are OK. Kudos to the bank for their sincere kind gesture. I am terrified of tornadoes and the frequency in the USA is just too scary. I just pray it stops happening as the devastation is just too heartbreaking.

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  31. What a great bank, why not let the chidlren play with the contents of the safety deposit boxes too?? You must have been out of your MIND with worry, wow, what an ordeal. It's all over our news in Australia, it looks absolutely devestating, we're so sorry. That is way too many lives to be taken by natural disasters. Wishing you well & keeping those sweet children safe. Look at your son acting out role of 'sweet little brother' in that image, bless his heart. Love Posie

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  32. Those pictures are horrific. I'm in Michigan we didn't get hit but have been seeing news footage and radio announcements about the tornadoes. What a scary situations. I'm glad that you're all safe.

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  33. these pictures and numbers are devastating. So glad there were some kind people to take care of the kids!
    xx
    yaga

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  34. I'm certain it wasn't lost on your kiddos that Burger King turned them away but that Commerce Bank sheltered them. How scarey that must have been to them to have been turned away, not knowing the outcome.
    Good for you for having taken cookies to the bank! Good for you for showing your kiddos that gratitude needs to be expressed - the world needs that.
    Love your blog!

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  35. My god, those pictures. Wow.
    LIke you needed any more turmoil.

    x

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  36. My goodness, such devestation. I'm so glad you're all ok. And I am never eating in a BK again. Utter bastards.

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  37. Yes, the picture are heartbreaking. I can't even imagine. Hopefully we'll all have a break for a while so we can catch a breath. Though as I mentioned, we haven't had any damage in our immediate area.

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  38. Mother Nature sure is angry at the world right now. What a tragedy!

    I think it's lovely that you took an offering of thanks back to those who had helped the kids. A little gesture like that goes a long way to easing such an epic disaster. x

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  39. Burger King should be ashamed of themselves! And I hope they are.
    The bank people seem wonderful and I'm so glad your kids and everyone else were given somewhere safe to shelter during a scary time.
    Rock on with the cookies - an awesome thanks for the Commerce Bank staff!
    I hope you and your family continue to be safe and my heart goes out to everyone who has been struck by this string of terrible events x

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  40. So glad you are all okay!
    That storm cloud picture, and the pictures of devastation are very scary!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  41. My mind automatically sent those pictures to "movie sets" because they were too intimidating and terrifying to imagine real people are having to deal with that level of destruction.

    I love that the bank used the vault, such a safe structure to house your babies! :-)

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  42. I have goosebumps reading this, it looks just utterly devastating... Mother Nature certainly has a bee in her bonnet this year...

    I'm so glad you are all safe and well (no thank to Burger King! Seriously guys, WTF??)

    Hope you are doing well with everything life is throwing at you, stay strong x

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