Hurricane Hysteria

stay calm

Panic - Pixabay
Panic - Pixabay

Well, it’s hurricane season and as we all know that can bring out the best and worst in people, and sometimes just plain old weird behavior. Like clockwork, some will always engage in some type of unjustified hysteria making things even worse for those dealing with natural disasters that are already taking place.

Many of us remember the case of New York man, 35 year old Sean Bailey, who pulled a pistol on someone after they complained that he attempted to cut in the massive lines in New Jersey for gas during hurricane Sandy in 2012. Bailey was ultimately taken into custody and arrested on charges of menacing and criminal possession of a weapon leaving him with the stark reality that his actions could put him in prison for up to 15 years.

This brings us to one of our readers Susan Brown, from Plano, Texas.,who reached out to us with her own personal experience during Hurricane Harvey. Keep in mind that Plano is nearly a five hour drive from Houston, who was hit the worst by the hurricane.

Will we ever grow up? Just like high school rumors, people who don’t take the time to check the facts before repeating rumors cause all sorts of trouble. The panic in Texas caused by people freaking out and reacting to unverified information has not only resulted in a rush on gas, higher gas prices and long lines, but also flaring tempers over stupid things.

Raceway - Before and After Courtesy: Raceway and Susan Brown
Raceway – Before and After
Courtesy: Raceway and Susan Brown

After waiting 30 minutes in line to purchase the only gas available in my neighborhood (I was one of the lucky ones ….. many people waited longer, only to have the gas pump in the line they were in run out) I wanted to take a picture to show my out of state family what kind of craziness all the hype was causing. Not wanting to create more congestion in the already crowded parking lot, I pulled into the neighboring business’s (oil change place) empty parking lot to get a good camera angle and picture.

No sooner had I clicked a few frames, then a woman who was obviously not happy with me comes storming out of the oil change building. She was in street clothes (not in uniform) and demanded to know exactly what I was doing. After explaining, she followed me back to my car and was infuriated when I wouldn’t roll down my passenger window to listen to her scream at me that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of company vehicles (none in sight) – the business wasn’t even open yet that morning. I asked her to move away from my car, or she would be hit by my side mirror when I backed away. As I backed out of the parking spot, she ran around the front of my car to the driver’s side. All the while screaming, “This is private property, get out of here!!” I was able to drive away, unharmed and grateful to be safe and away from the unstable women. I don’t know what caused her outrage, as I was in the oil change business’s parking lot less than 5 minutes, and was clearly dressed in office/work attire. Obviously, something was not right with this employee … don’t know if she was a victim of the crazy gas hype or not, but I felt lucky not to be a statistic or a victim of a crime potentially caused by gas shortage rumors.

Brown went on to point out that this was the only picture worth posting as the other shots she snapped ended up being worthless after the overly emotional employee interrupted her attempts to take photos that would fully appreciate the situation.

The moral of the story? During a crisis such as this, use your head and don’t panic – and don’t be the crazy lady at the oil change place.

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