Recently, a Texas couple proved that when the rubber meets the road, “Southern hospitality” is more than a nice phrase.
Last month, while Texans were in the thick of their unprecedented winter storm, Chelsea Timmons was braving the elements to deliver groceries to Austin residents. She had just tapped “accept” on her final Favor order of the day when the storm started picking up. Chelsea pushed through and made it all the way to her customers’ home, but then the worst happened: Her car skidded out of control into their yard.
With the roads as icy as they were, Chelsea had tried to gain control of her car as it slid down the steep incline of the family’s driveway, but to no avail. Luckily, her car stopped just short of the house.
The home belonged to Nina Richardson and Doug Condon, who were both shocked and concerned when Chelsea delivered their groceries and explained what had happened.
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The trio spent a long time attempting to free her car, but it was no use. Next, they tried calling AAA, but all the tow trucks were busy in use for emergencies.
That’s when the kindhearted couple took the neighborly next step: They invited her in!
“We’ve got kids of our own [that are] Chelsea’s age, so I think our parental instincts kind of jumped in right away, and we just started telling her that she wasn’t safe [outside] and she wasn’t going anywhere,” Nina said in an interview.
Chelsea was grateful for their offer but was understandably a little nervous. After all, she didn’t know these people beyond their grocery order, and she didn’t know how long she would be stranded there.
But after spending a little more time with the couple and realizing the storm made travel too dangerous, Chelsea was relieved to accept their offer.
“We have two guest rooms. It just seemed like the natural thing to do, considering the situation,” Nina told The Washington Post. “We didn’t even need to talk it over.”
Pretty soon, Chelsea was getting to know the pair over a steak dinner, baking them a homemade coconut cake, and moving in with her adorable new canine roomies!
“Every morning when I suggested leaving [for] a hotel, [they’d ask], ‘Could you make it there safely?’ ‘What would you eat?’ ‘What if they lose power?’ ‘Isn’t the guest room better than the Hampton Inn?'” Chelsea wrote on Facebook. “They basically have refused to let me leave.”
Chelsea was left feeling moved and overwhelmed by their generosity.
“Every morning after they say, ‘No worries, stay a bit longer,’ I go to ‘my’ room and shed tears of joy,” she added.
She was even more grateful for her circumstances when she found out that her own home in Houston had lost both power and water. Turns out this actually was the best-case scenario, and Nina and Doug would agree!
“For us, it’s just been kind of a funny situation, and so we’re kind of surprised that people find this so remarkable because it seems just kind of what you do,” Nina told ABC 11. “Pretty quickly it kind of has moved into her just being part of our family.”
Though Nina and Doug humbly believe they were just doing what was right in the moment, Chelsea knows this was an exceptional act of kindness and generosity.
“I’m so grateful for these two and grateful that they were not only able, but very willing to let a stranger into their home, and keep me safe, warm, and fed, and make me feel comfortable,” she said. “And make me feel part of the family.”
“We’re definitely going to stay in touch. How could we not?” she added. “I know their address.”
Hopefully, this story will inspire everyone to treat others with the same level of empathy, selflessness, and compassion!
Don’t forget to share this example of true hospitality to make someone smile.
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