A random act of kindness goes a long way.
As Hurricane Irma closes in on Florida and other southeastern states, Southerners are bracing themselves for impact. Which means racing to the stores to buy emergency-preparation supplies, such as water, toilet paper, and generators. It’s no wonder that as of Tuesday, September 5, retailers started reporting shortages and issuing limits on how many cases of water consumers can buy.
"The retailers are well aware of the shortages," said James Miller, a spokesman for the Florida Retail Federation, "And they have a plan in place to stock the shelves as fast as they can."
For one Sanford, Florida, resident, this shortage hit pretty close to home. Pam Brekke was anxiously awaiting for shelves to be restocked, as she searched near and far for a generator. Brekke said she spent days “staring at empty store shelves.”
After discovering a Lowe’s Home Improvement in Orlando had received a shipment of nearly 200 generators, she drove more than 30 miles to the store. However, by the time she got there, they were already sold out. In tears, she had to watch a Lowe’s employee load the last generator onto a cart for the man in line ahead of her.
"My father's on oxygen, and I'm worried about this storm," said Brekke.
She was almost forced to walk away empty-handed, until a kind-hearted stranger stepped up to help. Ramon Santiago, who had received a generator but hadn’t paid for it yet, offered Brekke his, without even knowing why she was crying.
"She needs the generator," Santiago told WFTV-TV, as the two embraced. "It's okay."
Brekke, inundated with emotion, was encouraged by Santiago’s kindness during such a scary and troubling time for Floridians and all those caught in the crosshairs of Irma's destruction over the next few days.
"That gentleman was a great gentleman right there," Brekke said. "God will bless that man."
WATCH: 10 Essential Things to Do Before a Hurricane
Although Lowe’s received more than 215 generators on that day, store managers are uncertain when they’ll get another large shipment. Here’s a comprehensive checklist on all the things you can do to stay safe, as well as the things you’ll need before Hurricane Irma makes landfall.