This is the story of how the friendly and seemingly fearless leader of our grocery store (Trader Joe’s store #664 in Nashville, TN) made sure every one of his morning crew made it home safely during the worst snow storm Nashville has experienced in over 12 years. It was originally written on a Facebook page that is only seen by our crew members which is why it has more than a few inside jokes. My dear reader, you should know that Nashville, TN does not get severe weather of this magnitude very often, thus the town is not equipped to clear roads quickly. That helped set the stage for many of us who had arrived at work at 4am and 5am to become stranded at the store. This began at 6am, when that storm dumped over 6 inches of snow on us in the first 3 hours and had topped 8 inches by the time we closed the store at Noon! It had been raining just before the temperature dropped to freezing making the roads much like a skating rink prior to getting topped with lots of snow.
22 January 2016
All HAIL “CAPTAIN JOHN” for being the ultimate Nashville Snowpocalypse Road Warrior and taking more than a few of us home! (“Captain” is what Trader Joe’s officially calls their General Managers). After closing the store at Noon today. Captain John, Larry and I all hopped into Captain’s great white 2008 Honda Ridgeline (hereby dubbed The Polar Express) and proceeded to wade, plow, and easily maneuver around stuck cars and timid novice snow drivers traveling south on Hillsboro Pike. We did our best to give Jessica (who was graciously giving Jeremy a ride home) a push up that crazy hill prior to the Harding/Hillsboro intersection, but some helpful folks in a truck with a tow strap pulled them to safety. Winding our way over hill and dale to Larry’s house was a wild ride! The Polar Express just glided right through that pristine 8 inch deep snow like it was silk.
Capt’n then wanted to circle back past the store to be sure everyone had made it out of the parking lot OK. Looking from the street, as we sat at the Richard Jones Road traffic light, we saw Raspberry’s Caddy in the store parking lot, right where it was when we’d left over half an hour prior. We guessed he’d gotten a ride with our colleague, Bobby Swope, in his latest “Swope Mobile”. With that conclusion in mind, we continued on toward my house. (There is a case to be made for NOT having tinted windows!)
Over the next half hour, Capt’n had patiently navigated around the many (now typical) slow or stopped vehicles through Berry Hill and past Guitar Center. He got a response to his text to Jeremy asking if he and Jessica had arrived safely. THEY were fine, BUT our dear Chris Raspberry was stuck in his Cadillac back at the store! We both exclaimed, “WHAT! How did we MISS seeing him?!” The Polar Express was promptly turned around while Capt’n asked if I was in a hurry. “No way, let’s go get him!”
On our way back on Woodmont, texts were coming in that Steven had arrived home safely as well as others. Leuckessia just happened to call me at that moment so I put her on speaker so Capt’n could back me up on my story of how wacky the weather was. (We all know Kessia loves the weather!)
Arriving back at the store, Chris Raspberry jumped out of his car with his typical grin and climbed aboard the Polar Express. We proceeded to sort out how it happened that Capt’n and I did not see Chris when we’d driven past the store earlier to check for stranded folk, and how he did not see us and wave or something. Those dang tinted windows on BOTH vehicles! After seeing how the Honda Ridgeline was like a Sherman Tank, Chris joined me in the firm conviction that… WE NEED ONE OF THOSE TRUCKS!
We dropped Chris off and headed on Harding over to I-24 which looked fine at THAT point. After passing the Briley exit, we slowed down to a crawl. I looked ahead and as far as I could see there were semi trucks lined up! Some delft maneuvering and Capt’n had us past that mess and onto my exit at Murfreesboro Road.
I won’t soon forget the sight as we drove over I-40 on the Spence Lane bridge and looked down on the “carnage” that lay below! I-40 was completely stopped with a back-up of all four lanes on the West bound side going out as far as the eye could see toward Lebanon. Drivers were out of their trucks, standing on the freeway!
Getting to my house was almost as wild as Larry’s! As we descended down a winding street, Capt’n had to go around a snow covered SUV stuck headed the wrong way in our lane. There was a deep ditch dropping off directly on the opposite side of the road from it. The mirror on my side of the Polar Express missed that SUV by barely a quarter inch. Whew! No problem!
One thing I know for certain, I might be able to find and buy a white 2008 Honda Ridgeline (which I will name…. Bruce after the shark in Jaws), BUT it will take a whole heck of a lot of practice for me to be as precise a driver as our Captain!
And now you know…
The REST of the story.
This “Commendation” was my way of giving profuse thanks to Capt’n John for giving me a ride home in addition to the fact that this wild story really needed to be told. I’d offered to bake him some homemade cookies but he just grinned and said, “No problem, glad we made it through.”
NOW… After all the hubbub from this story being passed on, he probably truly wishes he’d taken his chances with my baking instead!!
THE NEXT morning, Cap’t John was picking snowed in people UP for work at 4 a.m.!!
Born in Kalamazoo, MI at the tail end of the 60’s. Much of my young life, I grew up in the backwoods of Michigan living a poor but happy existence. I have tales to tell that sound like they should be coming from the lips of my grand parents rather that from a kid raised in the “modern world”. I moved to Los Angeles, CA the year I turned 20 with a job and big dreams waiting for me. Married, raised 3 kids and divorced out there. I moved to Nashville, TN 5 years ago with my musician boyfriend of 6 years. We love living here with our two rescued dogs, Chet & Radar.