A Target store in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga, N.Y. became an impromptu shelter for approximately 25 people left stranded by the blizzard that hit Western New York State last week, according to The Buffalo News. From Dec. 23 to Dec. 25, seven store employees provided food, hot beverages, inflatable mattresses and bedding, clothing, basic hygiene items, phone chargers and toys to help pass the time until crews dug out the store.
Throughout the holiday weekend, workers scraped the store’s windows to keep them from icing over and keep an eye out for others in need, who eventually included an elderly man and a woman with muscular dystrophy. The employees didn’t charge anyone for the items they used, and even set up a television near the store’s Starbucks on Sunday so people could watch the Buffalo Bills game.
The unexpected and likely life-saving slumber party was documented on social media, including TikTok updates from @carlarodxd (real name Carla Rodriguez), with one video receiving 5.4 million views. When Rodriguez posted a video reporting her safe return home, she expressed gratitude to the store’s workers. “Considering ourselves lucky thanks to them,” she wrote on TikTok.
The Buffalo News quoted Jessica Sypniewski, stuck at the store with her boyfriend and their two children, praising the employees’ actions: “They deserve to be recognized,” she said. “They deserve something for sticking through that entire situation with such a positive attitude.”