January 31, 2014
Winter Storm Leon 500px
A Twitter user posted this picture of Alabama traffic snarled by Winter Storm Leon Jan. 28. Many were marooned and were forced to leave their cars to seek shelter at area stores.​

Winter Storm Leon delivered a swath of snow and ice across the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie footprints on Jan. 28, and throughout the Southeast, Bi-Lo Holdings associates lent a helping hand to stranded neighbors.

The day started normally but worsened considerably as the day went on and people in Louisiana, Alabama, Northwest Georgia and Southeast Tennessee found themselves stranded as they tried to get home from school and work. Snow and ice left drivers gridlocked on highways and surface streets and students were trapped on buses or were forced to spend the night at school.

Some even took refuge for the night in their local grocery store. Birmingham, Ala. Winn-Dixie store No. 445 Assistant Store Director Jeff Wax welcomed more than 30 people into his store after accidents and tangled traffic forced them to leave their cars sitting on the highway.

“We got out tables and chairs for everyone, kept the kids occupied and served hot coffee and donuts into the night,” said Wax.

The next morning, Wax received a standing ovation and a thank-you note, signed by everyone he had helped.

“These people had no place to go and we were open,” Wax said. “We had a warm place for them to stay with food and water. It’s about taking care of your neighbors in times of need,” he said.

Down the road in Pell City, Ala., Winn-Dixie store No. 410 Director Mike Watson and his Assistant Director, Paul Pogue, spent hours helping a C&S driver get his equipment towed to a safe place and allowed him to spend the night at his home.

“It’s about doing the right thing,” Watson said. “I’m sure he would have done the same for me. We should be taking care of each other.”

Winter Storm Leon Inset 1.jpg

Stranded motorists ride out Winter Storm Leon in Winn-Dixie store No. 445 Jan. 28.

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