Colleagues at Asda Huntly help more than 200 motorists stranded by Storm Gerrit
Colleagues at Asda Huntly store rallied round to help more than 200 motorists who were stranded when floods caused by Storm Gerrit meant the road from Inverness to Aberdeen was impassable.
The team, led by newly-promoted replenishment section manager Rebecca MacDougall, offered the motorists shelter in the store's café and provided them with free hot food and drinks, as well as blankets and access to phone chargers. Many people spent the night at the store before a diversionary route was opened.
Rebecca, who's 22, only started her first management role a few weeks ago, but quickly took charge of the situation, helped by colleagues including Lorraine Birtles, Tracy Bean and Rhys McWilliams.
She said: "The storm hit at about 8am, when we'd already sent our home shopping drivers out. It was such heavy rain – worse than I've seen before. There was water coming in, so we were getting buckets to clear it out, and then it meant that the main roads had to be closed.
"People were stranded everywhere so looked to us as a safe place to seek refuge as we're right next to the A96, which is the main road from Aberdeen to Inverness.
"We brought anyone who needed shelter into our cafe to keep safe and warm. We had everyone, including young families on their way home after Christmas, diabetics and a pregnant woman, but thankfully everyone was OK. We gave them hot food and coffee, blankets and anything else they needed like phone chargers, and kept them updated on the situation. There were around 200 or so people in total throughout the day.
"Lorraine, who works on our hot food counter, did an amazing job. She was cooking food for everyone and making sure they all had something to eat. Tracy and Rhys work on front end so they were letting people who were in the car park know what was going on and letting them know they could come inside. They were really good.
"It was a long day and everyone was really tired by the end, but I'm so glad I was able to help. This was a big test and everyone pulled together and helped."
Lots of people who were helped by the team commented on this Facebook post – https://www.facebook.com/FubarNews/posts/pfbid0HXGbmjgqdMBmf7jWMaKSKfGgbBnkhgC4SXWjWpVDYsGce75UpZV3hgRYb86R4FsNl – to say how much they appreciated our colleagues' efforts. Comments included:
"Asda staff were fantastic the hot drinks and food were much appreciated 💕"
"Let's hear it for ASDA.HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY"
"In Asda, 5 star effort by staff with hot food & drinks made available for now….thanks to all involved"
"Yes a huge thank you to the staff at Huntly Asda. They have been so kind especially Kirsty who made sure everyone was ok. Their help is greatly appreciated 👏👏👏👏"
"Everyone has been so nice and helpful. Thank you so much"
"Asda were fantastic, thanks very much!"
Store manager Linda Morrison says she's so proud of the way that Rebecca and everyone at the store dealt with a difficult situation and did everything they could to help.
Linda said: "It was a rather unique situation, but Rebecca and the team handled it superbly. Everyone rose to the challenge and went out of their way to help people, so I'm exceptionally proud of them all. But Rebecca deserves special praise because this was her first Christmas in charge and she's done an exemplary job in really challenging circumstances.
"I'd like to give a big shout-out to the home shopping team too because the drivers were out in the worst of the weather and were called into action helping people. They carried on with their deliveries for as long as possible until the roads were so bad that they had to come back to store. They all did an outstanding job."