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'Hero' hotel clerk works 32 hours as only employee serving guests trapped during tropical storm Imelda


No one else could get to work due to flooding

Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

A Texas hotel employee is being hailed as a hero after working a 32-hour shift as the only employee who was able to make it to work as flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda made roads impassable, CNN reported.

Satchel Smith, a 21-year-old track athlete from Lamar University, arrived at work for a 3-11 p.m. shift, but when no other employee was able to make it to work, he found himself solely responsible for serving 90 guests.

He's normally a front desk clerk, but on that day, he became a cook, a maintenance employee and any other role that was necessary to meet the needs of the guests who were stranded at the hotel.

Some guests chipped in to help him prepare meals for everyone, and to deliver food and water to stranded drivers who were stuck nearby.

"The guests were helpful," Smith said. "It was basically like a big family."

One of the appreciative guests highlighted Smith's efforts in a viral Facebook post.

"His coworkers couldn't make it to work so he stayed," wrote guest Angela Chandler on Facebook. "He has manned the phones, answered each of our questions, ensured that we have had a hot cup of coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast. He has handled this situation with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face. Sometimes we ask ourselves why God allows things to happen but we are not designed to understand his ways. I do think that sometimes He allows things to happen so we can be His light and share the love of Christ with others."

Even when coworkers finally made it to work, Smith worked a few more hours to help out, took a nap, then got back to work as he waited for someone to pick him up. His own car was totaled in the flood — something that also happened to him during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Still, Smith was not phased, and was simply grateful that his home was safe.

"Everything happens for a reason," Smith said.

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