DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A mix of progress and patience in Northwest Dallas today. According to Atmos, service hwas restored to 140 homes evacuated prior to last week’s planned outage. That means thousands are still without heat and hot water.
“We just have to make do with what we have,” says Danny Payne who admits that the outage is an inconvenience — but, one with a few upsides.
“In order to get a hot shower, we go to the gym and work out, so there’s extra motivation to get a work out in because at least you get a hot shower,” says Payne.
As Atmos customers adjust to several weeks without service, Payne says he’s staying put to care for his pets– and because of security concerns. But, he calls the compensation from Atmos fair ($1250 per household every 5 days without service) and adds that Dallas police have made good on their promise to step up patrols.
“When we go out in the morning to walk our dogs, we see them out there. They’re vigilant,” says Payne. “We’re very thankful for our police officers here in Dallas.”
And that gratitude is spilling over to the Atmos workers as well.
“The second night, my mom went out in the rain and carrying coffee and little muffins and it was like 10:30 at night, and she walked over to the workers and they were just so happy and shocked and so happy,” says Jatsive Hernandez, “and we thought, ‘why don’t we have a little snack station for them?’ ”
And just like that: the Hernandez family turned frustration to kindness,which became contagious. Jatsive reached out on social media to let her neighbors know that she was providing snacks to the Atmos workers, police officers and firefighters.
“People started bringing water, Coke, Dr. Pepper, chips, trail mix, cereal bars,” says Jatsive, “neighbors were messaging me… what do you need?” She says some neighbors have even handed her cash as they walked their dogs. They’ve collected so many donations that now they have six ‘satellite’ snack stations in locations around the work zone. They also make snack bags with thank you notes and deliver them every evening.
She says workers have responded with surprise and pleasure.
“A couple of workers came by and they’re like ‘why are ya’ll doing this?’,” says Jatsive with a laugh “our lives kinda depend on ya’ll, so we want you to be happy and do a good job!”
She says she leaves the snacks out in the front yard on a neat, umbrella covered table and workers have even knocked on the family’s door to say ‘thank you’.
“It’s been really nice.”