The old lady had only left the house to pick up some candy, but she soon encountered breathing difficulties that left her clinging to a lamp post. She had no choice but to hang on for dear life. But thankfully, when no one else seemed to care, this guy came to her rescue.
Storm Doris was about to hit the United Kingdom. As a result, the weather had been all over the news that day. Experts gave their opinions on how much damage the storm might do when it reached land.
And on February 23, 2017, Storm Doris struck England and other parts of the U.K. Wind speeds of up to 94mph were recorded, and people were urged to be wary of the dangers that the gusts could pose. Moreover, as the day went on it became clear that most of the country had been affected by the storm.
And for Joanie, a 96-year-old pensioner, this meant that her usual trip to the shops suddenly became much more dangerous. She was out in Walton-on-Thames, England, at a time when the winds had been whipped up into a frenzy. The warnings didn’t seem to put her off, though, so she’d donned her coat and headed outside.
She wasn’t very far away from her quaint cottage when her troubles began, however. The high street was fast becoming a scary place to be. Indeed, Storm Doris was creeping closer and closer, sending objects swirling in the air.
And soon Joanie realized that she had made a mistake. Her legs were not as powerful as they once were, and as a result she was unable to continue her journey. Joanie had only wanted to visit the local shop. But now she was stuck on the pavement, terrified, with nowhere to go to take shelter from the weather.
The winds in her neighborhood were now reaching speeds of 60 mph – and she felt powerless in the face of them. So she searched for somewhere to go, but could only get as far as a nearby lamppost. She then clung to it for dear life as the air whistled around her.
At this point, however, a young man caught sight of Joanie. Dan Barnett, a local realtor, was sat in his office close to where she was trapped. And as he gazed out of the window at the raging storm, he saw that the old lady needed help.
Her arms were still wrapped around the pole, and she was struggling in the strong winds. Standing all alone, it was clear to Barnett that she required immediate assistance. But, shockingly, three people walked straight past her without taking any notice of the distress that she was in.
So Barnett, 25, immediately got up from his desk. The Good Samaritan acted on instinct, leaving the safety of his office and going out into the high street to help the old woman. And once he was by her side, he offered his support.
The young man put a caring arm around Joanie, and she was clearly grateful for his assistance. She subsequently found her footing and was able to start walking again. It was a touching and tender moment at odds with the destructive storm that was raging around them.
And it brought happiness and relief to the onlookers who’d decided to film the incident. “Bless him, he’s such a hero,” said Barnett’s colleague Jodie Lynch, who captured the moment for posterity. By this point, Joanie had her new friend on one side and her trusted walking stick on the other.
They then crossed the road together, clearly at ease in each other’s company. The winds didn’t seem as much of a problem for Joanie with Barnett around. And although the young man could have decided to leave her once she’d safely crossed to the other side, he wasn’t finished yet.
Of course, at that point he could have bid her a fond farewell knowing that he’d done his good deed for the day. But as the footage of the incident came to an end, it showed the pair walking off together. Yes, Barnett had decided to walk the lady home, and she was subsequently guided to the safety of her doorstep.
With her groceries in her bag and her daily walk complete, she was able to get inside and shut out the unpleasant weather. Barnett then strolled back to his office. And no doubt his colleagues spent the rest of the afternoon spreading the word about their caring colleague.
The next day, Storm Doris began to subside. However, news reports showed that it had caused damage throughout the country. Accounts of people being injured by falling debris emerged, and the MET office – the country’s weather hub – announced even further snow, ice and wind warnings.
In Northern Ireland, 1,500 homes and businesses woke up without power in the wake of the storm. And the story was similar in other parts of the battered U.K., with rural communities plunged into turmoil as their electricity supplies failed.
Tragically, one woman’s life was cut short by the storm. Tahnie Martin was just 29 years old when she was struck by a piece of a water tank, which caused fatal injuries. An inquest later found that the object – the size of a dining table – had fallen off the roof of a six-story building.
In addition, at least two other people were seriously injured during the storm. And along with delayed flights and cancelled trains, many roads and bridges were also shut down, as the winds and snow flurries rendered them unsafe for drivers.
Soon the weather was safe enough for Joanie to venture out again, though. And the next trip she made had a special purpose. Armed with a giant box of chocolates, Joanie pushed open the door to Barnett’s office.
The pair were reunited, and this time in much calmer circumstances. After she presented Barnett with the gift and thanked him for his kindness, he enjoyed finding out more about his new friend. Despite an age gap of more than 70 years, the two had still shared a special moment amidst the chaos of the storm.