You never know when you’ll be called upon to be the hero in someone’s world.
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As blizzard raged across western New York on Christmas Eve, Sha’Kyra Aughtry and her three kids were safe and warm inside their Buffalo, New York home. She was asleep when she first heard the cries for help at her back door, where she found Joe White shivering and terrified.
At first, she refused to let him in. He was a complete stranger, and her family’s safety was her top priority. But as she stood in her window and saw the desperate man outside shouting for help, she knew she couldn’t leave him to die. She sent her boyfriend, Trent, to carry the man into her home.
Sha’Kyra was appalled at the man’s condition. He had horrific frostbite on both hands, and he clearly needed medical attention. But when she called 911, no one came. The storm was so powerful ambulances were getting stuck on the way to emergencies. With no help on the way, Sha’Kyra had to play nurse to a stranger on the verge of death.
The man’s name is Joe White, and he’s a 64-year-old with developmental disabilities who has worked at North Park Theater in Buffalo for the past 30 years. Earlier that day, Joe mistakenly thought he had to go to work, so he left his group home and walked right into the eye of a deadly snowstorm.
Sha’Kyra grew more frantic as each second passed. She recorded much of her ordeal on Facebook Live, begging for help from anyone nearby.
“I’m going crazy because I’m scared,” she said in the video. “I’m starting to see his body change too much from the time that I had him – his body has changed rapidly every hour.”
“I’ve called the National Guard,” she continued. “I’ve called 911. I’ve called everybody. They just keep telling me I’m on a list. I don’t want to be on a list. I don’t care about nothing else. This man is not about to die over here.”
Her pleas for help worked. Twenty-four hours after she first heard Joe’s desperate cries for help, Good Samaritans Jason Kipa, Doug Worthington, Jeff Dorenzo, Noah Black, and another unnamed man contacted Sha’Kyra and said they would brave the storm in their four-wheel drive vehicle to get Joe the help he needed.
In a later video, Sha’Kyra shows the men loading Joe into a truck to take him to the hospital. She stayed by his side the entire time, gently telling him, “I’m right here, Joe.”
Joe was admitted to the ICU with fourth-degree frostbite on both hands. His prognosis was up in the air, but Sha’Kyra said she’s praying for the best for her new friend.
Joe’s friends and family are immensely grateful to Sha’Kyra and everyone else who stepped in to help Joe. His sister, Yvonne White, calls Sha’Kyra an “angel” and says she feels she now has “a sister and three nephews” after seeing how caring and compassionate Sha’Kyra was to her brother.
The theater were Joe works even changed their marquee to thank Joe’s angel.
“Thank you Sha’Kyra & Trent,” It reads. “Get well soon, Joe.”
Sha’Kyra really stepped up to help this stranger in need. We hope Joe fully recovers from his injuries, and we join the people of Buffalo in thanking this mom for being the angel he needed.
Don’t forget to share this story to celebrate her heroics.
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