Feb. 14--It seems like everyone has a harrowing tale about trying to get home Wednesday afternoon.
Some of those people had to turn back around and go to work the next day.
Local schools, colleges and lots of stores and offices closed Thursday because of the snow, which meant thousands of Greensboro area residents worked from home or got the day off. But plenty of people were on the clock Thursday.
People like Nate McKinney, who left his home in Davidson County about 6 a.m. Wednesday and got to his cashier's job at Bestway grocery story about 7:15 -- only 15 minutes later than usual. McKinney said the snow didn't faze him. He grew up in Salt Lake City, drives a jeep and took the back roads through High Point.
"I didn't want to mess with the interstate today," McKinney said.
Business at the Lindley Park grocery store was slow but steady Thursday morning, but co-owner Roger Kimbrough soon ran into what you could call a weather ripple effect: Just because you were open didn't mean everyone else was.
For instance, the bank was closed, so Kimbrough couldn't get change for the registers. He wasn't sure if some of his suppliers were open. Even if they were, the delivery trucks probably wouldn't make it.
"We still have bread, milk and eggs," he said.
The store's famous Beer Wall seemed fully stocked. But looks, he said, can be deceiving.
"Beer might be a crisis by the end of the week," he said. "You'll be surprised at how fast it goes."
David Wells had no trouble getting from his home in Madison to his job in Greensboro. His problem: he was craving a biscuit for breakfast.
The Bojangles on U.S. 220 near the Rockingham-Guilford line was closed. So was the McDonald's in Oak Ridge. He finally found an open McDonald's, the one near Interstate 40 and N.C. 68.
"It apparently was the only thing open for miles," said Wells, who does technical support for Time Warner Cable.
Wells said the wait to get food was about 20 minutes, and he ended up with a chicken and cheese McMuffin -- "which was a new and interesting experience," he said -- because the employee who makes biscuits wasn't among the three who had made it to work.
"Everyone was in good spirits. No one was angry," Wells said. "I felt bad for the guy behind the counter."
No one was angry with News & Record carrier Richard Spurlin, who delivers about 460 papers daily out near Guilford College. At least nobody had called his office or home to complain.
"Oh, man, that's awesome," said Spurlin, who has delivered newspapers off and on since he was 10. (He's 54 now.)
Spurlin couldn't get his usual small pickup truck out of the driveway of his McLeansville home, so he borrowed his wife's SUV. It wasn't quick but it got the job done. Spurlin said it took six-and-a-half hours to cover a route that normally takes him three hours.
His advice to anyone who has to drive in snowy weather: Be the first one out there.
"The problem's not me. The problem is the other guy," Spurlin said. "They want to drive down the middle like I do."
Daily newspapers aren't the only things that have to stay open during a storm. Doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters and ambulance drivers are among those who don't get a snow holiday.
Moses Cone Hospital extended cafeteria hours and offered cots and empty hospital beds to employees who couldn't make it home.
Alamance Regional Medical Center, a Cone Health facility in Burlington, put up some employees overnight in a nearby hotel, Cone spokesman Doug Allred said.
The one thing that has helped, Allred said: Emergency room traffic is way down. Ambulances can get there just fine, he said, but most of the ER's traffic comes from people driving themselves or family members, and they seem to be choosing to stay home until the storm has passed.
Greensboro Police Department put about 40 extra officers on patrol starting at 7 a.m. Thursday.
The department's not having to pay extra officers, spokeswoman Susan Danielsen said. Instead, it's temporarily reassigning school resource officers (because local schools are closed) and other officers to help clear the streets of disabled vehicles and, in some cases, give drivers a lift.
"We don't want them out in the elements like this," she said.
If you think the roads were bad, think about anyone who had to fly in this mess. Greensboro resident Steve Cauthen, a charter jet pilot, helped land an 11-passenger plane at Piedmont Triad International Airport at about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Conditions were what the FAA charitably call "moderate icing": freezing rain, pellet snow and sleet.
"We had it all," Cauthen said.
By comparison, the trip home down a nearly deserted Bryan Boulevard at 25 mph was a piece of cake.
"It was scarier flying at that point," Cauthen said. "There weren't many people on the road."
?Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312, and follow @JohnFNewsom on Twitter.