Nfld. & Labrador

Senior stuck with snowed-in driveway gets help from stranger with a plow

73-year-old Alfred Simmons no longer has to worry about shovelling, thanks to a snow angel who responded to his call for help Thursday evening.

After CBC reported on the plowless plight of Alfred Simmons, the public rushed to help

Alfred Simmons found the recent pile-up a challenge. But his call for neighbourly help was answered Thursday evening. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The story of snowed-in St. John's resident Alfred Simmons drew a huge response from the public Thursday — and led to more than one offer to help the 73-year-old clear his driveway of this week's heavy snowfall.

It was Jim Hearn who got there first.

"I have a big plow just sitting in my driveway," Hearn told CBC News. When he heard about Simmons's ordeal on the radio, Hearn said he wanted to drive over right away.

Simmons had spoken with a reporter earlier Thursday about his struggle to make a dent in the remains of back-to-back blizzards that walloped Newfoundland this week.

"I need help because I can't shovel so much anymore," he said then. "I come down, I shovels a bit, I goes in and sits down on the porch ... at 73, I can't do it."

After calling a local radio station to vent his frustration after the storms, one person got in touch, Simmons said, offering to remove the snow for a whopping $160 fee.

Simmons declined that offer, explaining he couldn't afford it on his pension.

'It's not going to cost you anything'

By the time Simmons spoke to CBC, he and a friend had picked away at the driveway themselves, but there was still more to clear.

When Hearn pulled in to Simmons's house Thursday evening with his Chevy Silverado, equipped with a plow he uses for his own 70-metre driveway and commercial property, he said he noticed piles of snow that nearly towered over Simmons.

"You need a good shovel and a strong back for that and he didn't have either," Hearn said.

Alfred Simmons couldn't afford the first offer to clear his driveway. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Hearn added Simmons was expecting a price for his services.

"His first question was, 'How much do you charge?'" Hearn chuckled. "I said, Mr. Simmons, I can get rid of it for you, it's not going to cost you anything."

Hearn finished up in a few minutes, leaving Simmons with a "big smile" on his face. "He shook my hand and away he went," Hearn said.

Faith restored

Simmons and his partner Bev said they were delighted with the number of people who reached out to help them. 

Bev Simmons guessed about 20 do-gooders reached out over Facebook.

"It gives you faith in our people," Simmons said. 

The Simmons family has lived in the house for about 20 years, Bev added, and doesn't want to move to an apartment just to solve the shovelling dilemma.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, she's hoping they won't have to.

"If I can help somebody out, you can't put a price on that," Hearn said. "I'm just happy for the opportunity."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Bailey White