He missed Christmas with this family and spent it with 30 strangers while being stranded during the storm.
Christmas is a joyous time and everyone want to spend it with the ones they love the most. Craig Elston, a barber from New York, also had plans of spending the holiday with his family. However, things did not go as planned as he was stuck in his Barbershop in Buffalo following a deadly blizzard. On Friday, Elston saw a total whiteout as he glanced out his window at C & C Cutz. His field of vision was only around two feet. A customer entered the business alone and requested a haircut while he was contemplating his next move, reports CBC.
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Elston told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann said, "I thought he was absolutely crazy." Both of them eventually got trapped inside and Elston gave him a haircut. The barber decided to keep his store open in order to provide his neighbors with refuge while a few more individuals slowly poured into the shop. He turned up the heat and served them Vienna sausages, noodles, and hot pockets from businesses nearby where stranded store owners had also kept their doors open. The individuals seeking refuge at the barbershop were able to call their loved ones and charge their phones.
Elston heard some terrifying tales about other people who were trapped in the storm as word of his shop spread. He said, "I seen a person on Facebook lay face first in the snow. And it broke my heart. At that point, it was game on. I'm going to help whoever I can help. I'm not going to let nobody that's in this area go without shelter." Buffalo and the neighboring Erie County area were severely affected by the snowstorm, which left many stranded in their cars, brought on power outages, and delayed the arrival of emergency workers.
In addition to at least seven fatalities in the suburbs, the office of Mayor Byron Brown reported a total of 27 storm-related deaths in the city on Tuesday.
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The deceased have been discovered in Buffalo in homes, automobiles, and snowbanks. Elston claimed that he has never experienced anything even "remotely close" to the storm. He said, "I'm not thinking about the people that I helped. I'm thinking about all those people that maybe I could have did something a little bit more." He added, "Like there was a girl down there on Clinton and that's not too far from me. Maybe I coulda got a crew of people that was in the barbershop and helped that girl if I'd have [known] she was down there. She froze to death in her car."
He said that despite the girl's pleas for assistance on social media and in messages to her family, nobody was able to find her since the snow had covered her car. Elston said, "Twenty-two-year-old girl, she didn't even live her life. Something about stuff like that. I felt like I ain't had no other choice but to open the business up." While Elston's business often seems like a "pretty big" area, over the holiday weekend it was not just packed but also freezing as approximately 30 people joined him inside to wait out the storm.
"I genuinely just did it just so people would have somewhere to go." https://t.co/hLJlBEgnWa— Entrepreneur (@Entrepreneur) December 28, 2022
Elston claimed that he made an effort to put each individual at ease by providing them with thick hoodies and a fresh pair of socks. He said, "I had a bunch of socks because people come into the barbershop selling stuff all the time." He said that they played cards and turned up the music to keep busy. Everybody who was staying at the store on Saturday night saw the Buffalo Bills beat the Chicago Bears in a football game. He claimed there were arguments since it was Christmas Eve and they were in a difficult circumstance.
Moreover, Elston did not get much sleep during the three days they were stranded in the shop. He said, "I can't just go to sleep, be comfortable, you know what I mean? I'm basically managing everybody that's in here [and] making sure they're good." He missed Christmas with his family and could only return home on Monday. He said, "I got Leah Elston and Madison Elston, a nine-year-old and three-year-old, and I missed their Christmas … Maybe God had a different plan for me."
"My oldest daughter knows what's going on, and she called me and said, 'Daddy, I'm so proud of you.' "