DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of evacuees from the Beaumont area arrived on buses at the Wyndham Garden Dallas North hotel in Farmers Branch, where the city of Dallas booked every room for those fleeing Hurricane Laura.
“I think it’s gonna be really bad. I think it’s going to be really bad,” said James Stanley.
Stanley says his family spent 16 hours on a bus they boarded in Vidor.
“It was a long ride,” he said.
They made it all the way to San Antonio first only to find hotels there full and turned toward North Texas.
“I haven’t slept since 5 o’clock two days ago,” said his father-in-law, Billy Hales.
The family joined others at the Wyndham Garden Dallas North hotel, where the city of Dallas has rented every room for evacuees.
“When COVID-19 first started, we laid off 50 percent of our staff,” said general manager Zachery Warren.
Hotels across Texas are now scrambling to bring back workers.
“We don’t have the housekeeping staff or the food and beverage staff to be able to service all the people coming in, so we’re really struggling,” said Warren.
Hotels, though, are grateful for the challenge that brings them not only business, but a means to help.
“The phone call to bring people back to work is one of the best calls you’ll ever make,” said Warren.
Dallas’ emergency management director, Rocky Vaz, said many of the buses arriving from the Gulf Coast were bringing senior citizens and families with children.
They arrived on buses, taking up every other row to promote social distancing. Most carried no more than a small bag of belongings.
Justice Sherman of Beaumont brought her dog, Pablo.
“When I had nothing or nobody, I had that dog,” she said.
She almost stayed behind because of him. Family, she says, offered her a place to stay, but not Pablo.
“Well, ‘you can’t bring your dog’; well, I’m not coming,” she said.
Arriving in the Dallas area, she learned she’d have to board Pablo with Dallas Animal Services while at the hotel.
“You’re gonna get him back. I promise,” said a city employee.
Wiping away tears , she signed paperwork agreeing to the arrangement.
“He can’t stay. That’s gonna hurt,” said Sherman.
As a storm threatens to destroy her home, it’s one more worry she carries with her.