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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Life Passion (a bit long)

    Last September I was 15 feet away from a lightning strike.

    Well, a couple weeks ago I had a second near death experience.

    April 27th, Ringgold, GA.

    I live with my mom about 5 miles west of the city of Ringgold along Alabama Highway/HWY 151. Our internet had been cut the day before and I needed to finish some job applications. So, I decided to head into town and highjack whatever internet I could find. I had no clue what I was in for.

    Since my car is a beater and leaks oil, I decided to take my moms car. I hopped in and took off and the first place I came up to with internet was McDonalds (MD). I pulled into the parking lot and parked facing away from the restaurant, towards a shell gas station and went to work on my applications. The day had been rainy with occasional thunder and lightning and big winds. Nothing was out of the ordinary. It wasn't until about 15 minutes after I had parked that a massive wind knocked out power to the MD and Shell station and, my internet connection... A bit frustrated I shut my laptop, set it in the passenger seat, and grabbed the keys. As I reached to put the keys in the ignition I looked up and saw two small, dark grey clouds moving at a fast pace. I was a bit uncomfortable as I paused to watch them for a second.

    Then, the wind started to blow- across the parking lot straight at the driver's side door. Wind, no big deal, it will die down....but this wind didn't. It picked up and picked up to the point that I believed it might be better to ride this out inside the MD. Being in an unfamiliar car, I fumbled to manually unlock the door. The wind continued to pick up. Panic started setting in. Click, it was unlocked. I pulled the door handle and the door cracked open. As I began the motion of moving my leg to exit the vehicle the drivers side window, from back to front, peeled out and then blew across the vehicle. As I stared at the broken window with water being blown across the parking lot in the background, I realized that not only was I not making it to the MD but I was in trouble. Then, I don't know if something hit it or it was the sheer power of the wind that spidered and partially collapsed the windshield. Whatever it was, it was loud and quick. I did the only thing I could- tuck my head down as far as I could, latch on to the steering wheel, and scream.

    Things got loud, very loud. Like being beside the shuttle as it takes off. Just an absurdly loud grumble. The car shook violently side to side. For half a second I opened my eyes to see the cup holders. I had the sensation of glass flying everywhere like in a car wreck in the movies. I don't know why, or how, but I had the sensation of things being white. To every extent of the word, I was terrified.

    The next part is a bit hard to explain as I still don't fully understand it myself. By all means, at this point in the story, I was in survival mode. I had no control over my body or mind. The only thought I had was the thought of "this might be might end any second." That was the only conscious thought I had. I was otherwise busy being terrified and screaming. But on some other level, somewhere deep in me, I had two distinct feelings. One of happiness, joy, and satisfaction and another of anger, disappointment, and sadness. I somehow, was able to connect the feelings and emotions to vague memories. I could connect the happiness and etc to my time with Habitat, my college career, all the great people I've met along the way. I could connect my anger and etc to the past couple months which had been a struggle between unemployment, family issues, and personal issues. I had the feeling of- if this is it, I'm OK with it. I've done good with my life. And at the same time had the feeling of- Really? Is this how it's going to end? On this note? You're kidding me, I have so much left to do in my life. But all this was wrapped up in very subtle feelings, I never thought about any of it...but on some level, I understood what the feelings were and what they were connected to.

    Finally, everything died down. I can't remember exactly how things returned to calm but I got out of the car and ran into the MD to see if everyone was alright. They were. I then ran over to the Shell station (see the pics) and everyone there was alright. I gave my shirt to a woman in the MD drive through who was injured and bleeding. Within 6 or 7 minutes emergency vehicles had flooded the highway. Some people were saying more storms were coming. Every time the wind picked up, everyone ran back inside whatever building they were beside. A transformer exploded. There was a sense of sheer shock, fear, and helplessness. People just stood around not knowing what to do. Finally the police started pushing everyone down the street to an Ingles. I hitched a ride to a nearby friends house since I couldn't get home (all the bridges over the interstate were closed and home was across the interstate). I was able to contact my family and found out everyone was alright.

    At about 8:30 P.M. a category EF4 tornado ripped through our city killing 15 people. 8 of those deaths came from a motel just a few hundred yards from where I was parked.

    I write all this to ask for two things.
    1. To keep my community, and all those who were effected by the storms, in your thoughts and prayers. There is still a lot of hurt, pain, and need, and we could use all the prayers we can get.
    2. Whatever you are passionate about- serving others, family, bikes, photography, whatever- go do it. If you aren't passionate about anything, find a passion. Short little clever phrases get thrown around all the time and lose their meaning pretty fast. However, not only am I qualified to say this, but I believe it down to the very core of my being;

    If you aren't living with passion you aren't living at all.

    Now go live, because life is AWESOME!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    1. Red circle around the car i was in.
    2. A small red dot under the R in Ringgold marks where I was. I was fortunate enough to only get hit while it was an EF-0/1.
    3. That was what it looked like on the ground from my view- they towed all the cars before we could get back into the city. The collapsed building is what's left of the Shell station.
    4. & 5. my moms poor car....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Life Passion (a bit long)-arial.jpg  

    Life Passion (a bit long)-ringgoldef4tornadopath-mtbr.jpg  

    Life Passion (a bit long)-parking-spot.jpg  

    Life Passion (a bit long)-car1-1.jpg  

    Life Passion (a bit long)-car3-3.jpg  

  3. #3
    Reputation: Aaron D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

  4. #4
    Yappy little dog!
    Reputation: schnauzers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Reminds me of the story in the Twister ride at Universal Studios, FL.

    Glad that your alright. Things can only get better.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Wow. Glad you are OK.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Prayers are with you and all in the community.


  7. #7
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Thanks for sharing your story. God bless.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  8. #8
    ride more
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Holy crap, glad your okay, that's some scary stuff...

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: debonaire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Thanks for taking the time to share your story. Glad you are OK. Material things can be replaced but lives can't.

  10. #10
    Don't Stop Spinnin'!
    Reputation: ReD_tomato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    wow man... great story. glad you are ok.
    ~every end is a new beginning...

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: KRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Pretty scary stuff. Glad you're OK.

    PS: Remind me to not stand too close to you if we ever meet.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

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