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Love Where You Live



I love feel-good stories and this came across my desk before Christmas from a couple caught in the Malahat traffic jam during the ‘atmospheric river’ floods.

‘“What’s a little rain?” we thought as we packed our suitcases for a weekend escape to Victoria.

On our return to Nanaimo on November 15th, we were unaware that heavy rains were causing road damage on the Malahat. Checking out of the hotel, we were relieved those heavy rains had stopped. Instead of listening to the news broadcasts, I played my new Abba CD.

Heading toward the Malahat we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at 1:30pm. We tuned into the latest weather report. And there we sat. At 4:30pm, we finally move forward. At 5pm, the police were returning all vehicles to Victoria.

On the radio we learnt that the Brentwood Ferry had guaranteed crossings all through the night. At 6:30pm, in the dark and cold, we arrived at the line-up 1.3kms from the Brentwood Bay terminal. A young family towing a wagon lit up with tiny white lights, showed up at our window offering homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Next came a woman with water, then a couple offering snacks. The community centre was offering warm hospitality.

We asked a policewoman what was happening. “The ferry’s capacity is twenty vehicles. You’re here for six hours or longer.”

We were prepared: Christmas movies on Netflix via cellphone; e-readers; warm clothing and half a loaf of fresh bread. There was no time to sleep, because cars moved forward every 45 minutes. At 2am, MacDonald’s cheeseburgers arrived. An emergency team offered blankets, and then at 6am Tim Hortons’ coffee appeared!

The Brentwood Bay community overflowed with kindness. We felt safe, cared for and happy. What a contrast to the world that seems so full of pain and fear.

At last, we boarded the 9:30am ferry to Mill Bay, and drove home to Nanaimo arriving at 11:30am. A journey that normally takes 1½ hours, lasted 24½ hours. With no time to recoup, our grandson, called us: “You better get groceries and fuel, Grammie- they’re selling out all over the island.” Such is life!’

Thank you, Sharon Goldston-Easton for sharing your story.

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