It was 5:00pm when we stopped our regular jobs and took a look at the sky which was blue in sight and no sign of a tornado that was being reported all day on August 24, 2011. Sandra Hill even called a Custom Broker in Sarnia to confirm that shipment was set to clear the board and asked the kind lady if she has seen any sign of bad weather in her area. She stated that the sky was blue, no sight of rain.
Once all volunteers arrived at the Furniture Depot we made the decision to load the truck for a family in need. At 6:15pm we left Cambridge and headed for Waterloo to our delivery point.
At 7:00pm we arrived and had some difficulty trying to position the trailer into this location, very tight driveway, so we decided to drive in the 24ft trailer. We opened up the back doors and side front door and started unloading the good condition furniture into the family’s new home. Then the rain started to fall sporadically. But have no fear a bunch of young children came to the trailer and asked if they could help. They were amazing young children.
7:45pm we completed the off load and I thanked all the children for there sincere help and gave them our business card and told them if they ever need a desk or computer chair or television to have their parents call us. One child asked is the furniture free, we replied yes.
At this point the rain had stopped. Then we backed out and headed for our 1st pick up. 7:50pm located the house and a nice young lady opened her garage and donated a great condition couch and love seat, TV stand and 2 bicycles that only need air in the tires. 8:10pm we arrived at our 2nd pick up, we loaded a desk and table at this point the rain was coming down fast but it made sense to pick up the at the 3Rd location since it was on the same street. As we are driving down the street the rain was bolting down upon us not allowing us to see the numbers on the house. One of the volunteers saw a man standing in his garage waiving at us we stopped the truck and made a mad dash into his garage to pick up the donation. He was such a kind man who donated E-Waste material, and dresser.
At this point we are drenched, sitting in the vehicle as the rain came down hard and fast. We decided the weather is getting bad so we need to head back to the depot point of time 8:20pm.
As we left Waterloo – moving south on Fisher Hallman the wind started to pick up, lightening struck down over us and the road was covered in water praying no trees would fall upon us.
Many times the hydro went out leaving us in pitch black areas. As we made our way to 7/8 exit I became a bit concerned with the bridges that we need to cross coming back to the depot. The wind had picked up severely and the rain was intense. I could tell that the volunteers where getting worried but in my mind I kept praying that we will make it back safely. As we came upon the Fairview Exit, climbing the hill the trailer started to sway, I kept my foot on the gas and steered the vehicle hoping the trailer would straighten out and lucky we were not empty. The trailer came back in line, travelling down the hill where we came upon another bridge crossing the Grand River. At this point cars where off to the side of the road and truckers we passing me, the volunteers where very nervous and I asked them to just keep a look out and try to stay calm. We made it across the bridge no problem and headed to the 401 exit. Entering the 401 cars where off to the side of the road, the weather was intense, lightening bolts, flashing in the sky. Vehicles on the 401 moving very slow. 4-ways and brakes light and lightening were a head of us. I proceed with caution moving to the centre lane, passing vehicles while the lightening light up the road at one point everyone in the vehicle roared wow lightening just struck down. As we came upon the Franklin Blvd exit we noticed a car veering to the right into come coming traffic entering the 401 within seconds there could have been an accident right in front of us, but the vehicle entering the highway stopped.
We exited the 401 – Franklin Blvd not a vehicle in sight turned left on the Pinebush Rd and arrived safely at our Furniture Depot – Approx time 9:05pm where we sat for a few minutes in the vehicle took a deep breath and waited for the rain to settle.
I expressed my dearest gratitude to the volunteers who came out on this horrific evening to help furnish the future and the people in need. I hope they come back and help again