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As Texas freezes over, this furniture store owner is coming to the rescue—again

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale first opened the doors of his showroom to those in need during Hurricane Katrina. Now, he's done it again.

As Texas freezes over, this furniture store owner is coming to the rescue—again
Image Source: Getty Images/ Texas Struggles With Unprecedented Cold And Power Outages. (Photo by Go Nakamura)

A deadly winter storm has left more than three million people in Texas without power. In light of the difficult circumstances, furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, aged 70, has once again risen to the occasion, turning his showroom into lifesaving shelters for those in need. This is not the first time he has performed such an act of kindness. His Houston business, Gallery Furniture, opened its doors to those looking for shelter in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, 2017 during Hurricane Harvey, and just last year during Tropical Storm Imelda. Although the proprietor is known for his showmanship, particularly in television commercials in which he can be seen actually wearing a mattress, his kindness is propelling him to greater fame, The Washington Post reports.




"The logistics are a little hard, but we’re making it work," McIngvale said in an interview with the news outlet. "The main thing is to get people out of the cold." His move as a good samaritan is making a real impact for Texans struggling during the power cut. For instance, running water has hit record-setting freezing temperatures, forcing residents to scramble and find means to stay warm, dry, and safe. Patients who rely on medical equipment are also deeply affected. The state's power grid is isolated from the rest of the United States and has evidently failed to meet demand in the frigid weather. Many are frustrated with how unprepared the state of Texas was for the ice and snow.




In fact, one Mayor, Tim Boyd of Colorado City, took to Facebook to demand that “lazy” people get electricity and water on their own, claiming that he was "sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!" He has since removed the post and resigned from his position. In stark contrast, McIngvale has shown true leadership at Gallery Furniture. He shared, "Obviously there’s a lot of angst among the community coming in here. They’re shellshocked. They’ve been home for days in the cold with no electricity, no heat, no water, no plumbing." Residents are thus welcome to use the beds and sofas in his showroom. Additionally, the business owner invites them to take in a movie or basketball game on his big screen televisions and even sit down for a hot meal.




Since McIngvale first opened his doors on Tuesday to folks in need, 350 Texans have taken him up on the offer at two of his three stores, every single night. A further 800 people have come in for a warm cup of coffee, or snacks or a meal in the cafeteria. Unfortunately, although the store does have power supplied by a generator filled with 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel, there is presently only one working faucet as a result of frozen pipes. To overcome this challenge, the entrepreneur brought in portable toilets and rigged a special flush system in the restrooms with extra water. He has also sponsored food vendors to bring in tacos, enchiladas, hamburgers, hot dogs, and breakfast burritos.




"To whom much has been given, much is expected," he affirmed. "We’ve benefited from public support over the years, so it’s our obligation to open our doors and let people come in to get a respite from the storm. It’s the right thing to do." McIngvale was moved to act when he witnessed terrible scenes while driving to church on Valentine’s Day. He shared, "I saw some cops putting a sheet over a homeless guy who had frozen to death. That really got me. I decided then that I’d open the stores to everyone if it got really bad, and it did." He put out a call on social media, and people began showing up.




Spouses Maurisio Garcia and Yolanda Martinez and their three children are only one of the families who have so far benefitted from McIngvale's kindness. "We’re so grateful to have learned about this place," Garcia praised. "Their generosity is incredible. It’s been like an adventure for the kids staying here. The first night, they fell asleep on a diagonal sofa, happy and warm." The family plans to stay at the Gallery Furniture showroom until their power is restored, hopefully this weekend. Martinez added, "I don’t know what we’d do without Mack. We have everything we need here. It’s wonderful to see people doing what they can for everyone, no questions asked." According to McIngvale, he only opened up his doors to see people warm and safe. "It’s bitter cold out there, but it’s warm inside," he explained. "When it comes down to it, Texans will step up and get through the storm together."



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