EAST AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the middle of a recent blizzard, many people across Western New York went out of their way to help others, and keep them safe.
North Tonawanda 5th grade teacher Colleen McNamara owns a business on Transit Road in East Amherst. She went to the building to make sure it was OK during the storm and ended up staying there. Before long, she got a call from her cousin, who was stuck on Transit Road.
"He was stuck just down on the corner, so he walked here. And when he got here, we saw somebody on the road in front of us stuck," she said.
The stuck woman was a postal worker who had finished her shift and was on her way home. The trio spent the night at McNamara's business Stutelage, which is a learning center for kids.
The next morning on Christmas Eve, they hoped things would improve, but when they looked outside, another person was stuck on Transit Road. They tried to dig him out, but it was impossible. Eventually, he came inside too.
"So we were all hanging out watching the Bills game," said McNamara. "I found that I could make some snacks, and low and behold, we look outside and see more people stuck."
The next car had three people, one of whom had been picked up walking down the street. Adding them created a group of seven on Christmas Eve.
McNamara had all of the ingredients for the mac and cheese she had planned to make for her family's gathering, so she made it for the group instead. Then, she pulled out all of the things she had to create beds for all of them.
"I have so much stuff!" said McNamara. "And I had some things for my classroom that I was storing here. I have these pieces of insulation covered in fabric that I use for cubbies in my classroom that I didn’t put in yet – so people were sleeping on those."
By Christmas Day, the group could dig out and go their separate ways, but not before having a Christmas they’ll never forget.
"Everybody was so nice, and it was cool to create these friendships. Everybody here would just take the shirt off their back to help other people. That’s why I love Buffalo," said McNamara.
This article was written by Katie Morse for WKBW.