If the lines at the hardware stores were any indication, this most recent batch of rainy weather hit us all pretty equally. Each of us tried our best to keep the rain at bay as it fell on frozen ground before winding its way down the path of least resistance -- ending in the basement for many of us. I personally thought up a solution for a potentially backed up sump pump after drastically frozen chunks of ice last year caused mine to do just that very thing. That said, I never actually went and bought any of the supplies I needed for the proverbial rainy day, and I found myself searching for any sort of flexible plastic tubing come Wednesday.
Of course, I wasn't the only one.
It took several different tries -- first Bomgaars, then Consumers Lumber on a tip, followed by CFE lumber on a whim, then a quick knock on the door of a neighbor who is much handier than I and finally a trip to Ace Hardware -- to find any tubing that would work to reroute the flowing waters away from my basement. Even among the (admittedly avoidable) rush, everyone was friendly and helpful. Well, full disclosure, I got to both lumber yards after they'd closed up shop for the day, but I'm sure they would have been friendly too if there had been anyone inside.
Now, I'm not telling you this to simply name some of the places one can desperately search for plastic tubing in the Spirit Lake area. No, I'm telling you this because of something one of the salespeople said. Another customer, whom I happened to know from church (because you can't help but run into at least three people you know when dealing with localized flooding), asked if the store had any sand left for sandbagging.
"We don't," the Ace salesperson replied. "And neither does Bomgaars. We just got a call from them a while ago. We've been in close communication today."
In case you're unaware, Bomgaars and Ace are competing in a lot of the same market. Yet, when the Lakes Area was threatened with potential water damage and flooded basements, competition took a backseat to cooperation for the sake of the community.
It was no longer about profit. It was about people.
So, as one of the many, many people who found themselves in need during last week's minimal, yet irksome rainfall, I want to thank all the people who forged through hectic workdays to help us all. We know you likely had to take care of your own homes, but instead you took care of us. Most importantly, you showed that when the public is really in need, that care wasn't about dollars and cents anymore. It was about getting the community the help it needed, regardless of whether that meant the sale was in your own store.
Your character did not go unnoticed, and your community thanks you.