One Red Deerian has been restoring faith in humanity during the deep freeze by going to strangers’ doors and offering their vehicles a boost or a free ride.
Dylan Langford, a full-time photographer, is usually working from home. When the deep freeze hit earlier this week, he read about a teenager in Alberta who walked instead of waiting for a ride, and suffered frostbite.
After reading the teen’s story, Langford questioned, what do you do in these situations?
“Do you stand in the cold or do you start walking?”
The story inspired him enough to put a post on Facebook offering help to those who need it.
“I felt really bad for that, and I’m usually working from home, and thought even if I help one person – that’s one less person to walk in the cold,” he said.
On Tuesday – when temperatures hit -30 C and below, Langford boosted 25 vehicles and gave seven rides between 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. around Red Deer. The calls kept coming in as the week went on.
“A lot of very, very thankful people, when I was boosting,” he said.
On Thursday, Langford recalled helping a senior woman, probably in her 70s, who had to go to the food bank because she had run out of food, and could not afford a cab.
Another woman he helped was a new immigrant experiencing her first Alberta winter. While boosting her car, Langford also gave her a lesson on plugging in the car during low temperatures.
Most of the people who called were in need, and “had a good reason to go out.”
Another woman Langford helped was trying to get groceries to her daughter and her car wouldn’t start.
“Her daughter had called her. For the first time, she was living on her own and had run out of groceries two days ago, so she had been starving herself.
“So mom was going over there to help her,” she said.
“Most of the calls were people who needed to get food, or a heater to warm up the house.”
The experience has brought more hope into Langford’s life.
“Stuff has been going wrong in our area lately, people attacking people, or jumping in vehicles, and I offered this out.
“I offered complete strangers to jump in my vehicle, would run into the store, and come back and my vehicle would still be there.
“It was a good feeling to show that not everybody out there is a bad person,” the 27-year-old said.
Philip Stone, a Sylvan Lake resident, also offered help to those who needed it via a Facebook post. The 29-year-old man said he boosted about four people’s vehicles as of Thursday morning.
“Just because I’m not working this week, so I figured I might as well do something helpful,” said Stone.
Stone echoed Langford’s thoughts about “feeling good” about the experience.
“I try to help people. Usually, I’ll stop if someone is broken down and help them out. It makes me feel good,” he said, adding a woman offered him money for his service, but he didn’t accept.
Both central Albertans were on call Thursday and expected calls to come in until the end of the week, when the deep freeze is expected to be over.