Dallas comes through for woman with limited mobility who asked to see the snow because she couldn’t go outdoors
Rebecca Watson, a fourth generation Texan and Dallas American, has lived with a rare form of ALS since she was diagnosed in 2012.
She has long learned to deal with the challenges of limited mobility while living independently. She uses a device to speak. A small scooter helps her get around. Your Victory Park apartment is equipped with the latest smart features connected to the internet so that it can manage your home including opening and closing blinds.
But on Thursday there was a challenge that she couldn’t tackle on her own. She longed to see the snow, but when her internet went down, the technology that usually helps her experience the world blocked her view of it.
“It was a bit irritating to go through all the rigors of the past week, but to miss out on the beauty just because I couldn’t open the damn blinds!” She said.
So she turned to NextDoor and typed a plea on her cell phone, “Would some of you mind posting your snow pics, especially if you are in Victory Park?”
The answer was immediate and overwhelming. There were photos of dogs and frozen streets. Melting snowmen and plants covered with white flakes. There were photos of roofs and courtyards. More dogs. One person even superimposed a photo of Bernie Sanders wearing those infamous mittens in a snowy Dallas scene.
The Nextdoor app enables users in the local community to connect and share helpful information, goods and services. By Friday afternoon, Watson’s mail had received more than 100 replies.
Communicating by email and over her phone using a text-to-speech device, Watson said she was overjoyed.
“The answers made it possible for me to enjoy the snow in a way that I could never have done without them. One person posted a short video while walking in the snow. It brought back sweet memories of those walks and the “crunch” you hear with every step. As the advertisement says, it was invaluable, ”said Watson.
Watson, a 60-year-old mother of four, was diagnosed with a form of ALS called primary lateral sclerosis in 2012. The disease progresses more slowly than ALS and is not fatal, but she said she had to stop working when she lost most of her ability to speak in 2014. She moved from Richardson to Victory Park in 2019 when she was one became empty nests.
While many across Texas were hit by outages due to the storm, Watson was particularly injured from the lack of electricity.
Your building lost power early Monday. As an intensive customer registered with Oncor, she thought she would get a response quickly. But she couldn’t even get through to report the outage or get an update on when power would be restored.
“This breakdown of support / communication with our most vulnerable is inexcusable in my opinion,” she wrote.
After experiencing some health problems, she was taken to the Baylor emergency room and stayed there. When she returned home on Tuesday, power was restored, but the internet was down. That’s why she finally decided to reach out to NextDoor.
As it turned out, the photos were a welcome distraction from an otherwise difficult week – for everyone.
“When I saw the Post, I put myself in their shoes and found that I was lucky enough to be able to walk in the snow, especially with my dog,” said Ashley Madewell, a NextDoor user, who took a picture of her dog Rocky shared frolic in the snow.
Users shared photos not just from Victory Park but from across Dallas.
“Several people posted pictures of Oak Cliff, where I grew up. It was fun to see places in childhood like Kidd Springs, ”she wrote.
She is grateful for the answers because they show how well people can face even difficult circumstances, she said.
“In a way, I’m blessed because I probably see this willingness to help more than most people.”