"I just cared for him like he was one of my kids, or like he was my granddad because I would want somebody to do the same for me," said Sha'kyra Aughtry.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, Sha'kyra Aughtry was feeling depressed. A deadly blizzard in the Buffalo area meant she couldn't pick her sons up from their cousin's place, as planned.
Around 2:00 a.m., she posted on Facebook that she was sad that her sons wouldn't be home for Christmas, then fell asleep on the couch, as per PEOPLE.
During a Christmas Eve blizzard a Buffalo woman Sha’Kyra Aughtry saved 64-year-old Joe White who was caught in the storm. When she called emergency responders no one came. Thankfully Aughtry had a medical background and she saved Joe White's life. CNN pic.twitter.com/mBtN2cDC8c— Michael Grossman (@MichaelArt123) December 28, 2022
The storm woke her around 6:00 a.m. and she initially thought it was the sound of brutal winds whipping outside. But looking out the window, she saw someone there. She opened her door and tried to yell, but her voice was lost in the wind. She said, "The winds were so powerful that I couldn't even keep my eyes open."
As per CNN, Aughtry’s boyfriend carried the man into their house, 64-year-old Joe White, who has Asperger's Syndrome and is on the autism spectrum, had fallen and couldn't get up. "He taught me a big, valuable lesson: Just be kind to people," said Aughtry, a 35-year-old environmental service manager.
"You just got to be kind." "I said, 'Listen, we got to go out there and get this guy, because it looks like he needs help,' " she recalled. "This could be your mom, this could be my dad, this could be anybody."
After White was brought inside, Aughtry FaceTimed her cousin, a nurse practitioner, who taught her the details of warming the man up, using a hair dryer and a space heater from her son's bedroom to try to defrost his frozen hands. The man's shoes were frozen to his body. She cut off his socks. She defrosted his pants with a hair dryer.
Aughtry called 911. They did not come.
"My cousin told me to chip as much ice off [his hands] as I can, but it was too hard — it was literally like glass," she said. She grabbed some instant hand warmers to thaw the ice on his hands. He then gave her sister Yvonne White's phone number but was not able to explain the intensity of his pain.
"He likes Bruce Lee, so I told him, 'If Bruce Lee was in pain, he would kick high to the sky. If Bruce Lee wasn't in pain, he would kick low to the floor.' And I asked him, 'If you were Bruce Lee, the way you're feeling your pain, how would you kick?' He said, 'I'll kick high to the sky.' So I knew he was in a lot of pain."
"I don't even know how many times I called 911 – I was accused of harassing them," said his sister, Yvonne White, a 60-year-old special education teacher's aide. "I told one operator, "My brother's going to die.' And I was told, 'Probably.'"
As the emergency services were suspended. "We just waited," Sha'kyra says. "All those hours, we waited." She went live on Facebook at 9:26 p.m., to share the details, writing in part, "He is scared, I am scared. His life is in my hands. There's nothing else I can do to help. I called 911. We need help…. Please get him help."
Joey is still in the hospital's ICU, where doctors had to amputate his fingers. But Yvonne is grateful for the "miracle" that Aughtry found him and saved his life, and that they became part of each other's families. As Yvonne said, "I always wanted a sister. Now I have a sister and three nephews. It's pretty awesome."
But Sha'kyra said. "I definitely don't feel like a hero ... I could have ignored the cry for help. But I brought him in. And when I bought him in, I just cared for him like he was one of my kids, or like he was my granddad because I would want somebody to do the same for me. Just be kind. Love one another. I love him forever."
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