On Valentine’s Day, delivery driver Chelsea Timmons found herself stranded in Austin amid the brutal winter storm that left a good chunk of Texas without power. Fortunately for her, the driveway she was stuck in belonged to a generous couple, who invited her to stay for several days while they waited for the storm to clear up.
As Timmons told the Washington Post, she didn’t realize quite how bad the storm had gotten or how icy the couple’s driveway was. “I closed my eyes and prayed, ‘Please, please, don’t let me hit their house and wreck my car,’” said the 32-year-old, who delivers groceries on the weekend for extra income. Despite her prayers, she crashed into the flower bed of the house and took out a small tree as her car slid along the driveway.
“I tried to back up, and that just made it worse,” added Timmons. “No matter what I did, my wheels would spin in place." Shortly after her car came to a stop, she informed the homeowners via text that she was stuck outside. Doug Condon came out to help her, but when they realized the car stubbornly stuck, she was invited inside by Condon and his wife, Nina Richardson.
Timmons, who lives in Houston but makes deliveries in Austin for a statewide service, could not get the help she needed because roads had frozen over. Condon and Richardson offered her to stay for a bit. “We have two guest rooms. It just seemed like the natural thing to do,” said Richardson. “We didn’t even need to talk it over.” The couple work from home and have five children, but they’re all adults who live on their own. While there might have been concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had both recently received their vaccines so they felt comfortable inviting her in.
“We were lucky—our lights stayed on and we were warm,” Condon added. “And as we got to know each other over dinner, any awkwardness disappeared.” The three of them ate together that evening with the groceries Timmons delivered. While she continued to try and contact tow companies, the next day she learned her apartment complex in Houston had lost its power amid the storm, and her brother was taking care of her dogs. She remained thankful to the couple, who let her stay for a night, but that stay later extended to five nights due to the circumstances of the storm.
At multiple times during her stay, she said she cried because she was so touched by the couple’s generosity. “They never saw me as a burden, not even for a second,” she said. "We’re definitely going to stay in touch. How could we not?”