Dallas resident’s viral photo catches attention of local eSports mogul leading to pledge to help

Envious gaming owner Mike Rufail took note of the viral photo and pledged to help the North Texans affected by the winter weather

DALLAS – After another blanket of fresh snow had fallen in the middle of the week, so many North Texans came with another layer of mourning.

We heard the stories on the news about the freezing cold conditions in homes with no electricity. And we saw the devastating images of broken pipes, flooded houses and the fear that followed.

“To see it in Texas, it’s just noticeable,” said Thomas Black, a Dallas resident.

And a photo he took brought the devastation home.

“I’ve been inundated with hundreds of requests for permission to use the photo or for interviews,” Black said. “It was just without a break.”

He picked it up at his downtown apartment complex on Monday, and it didn’t take long for it to go viral.

People from all over the world have contacted us on social media. The photo is making the rounds on all the major national news outlets.

And a television station from France sent a crew to tour Black’s building. The people here in North Texas noticed it too. One in particular.

“I’m a Texan born and raised, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mike Rufail, a Lufkin native who now calls Dallas home.

Rufail is the owner of Dallas-based Envy Gaming, one of the world’s most valuable franchises in the booming esports industry. Rufail is kind of a rag to riches story. When he took the plunge into the game room in 2009, it wasn’t without hard times.

With this in mind, we asked Rufail what compelled him to act when he saw that ice-covered fan.

“The fact that it was so cold really told the story that there are a lot of people who are really cold and in trouble right now,” he said.

Rufail saw on Black’s Twitter bio that he was interested in esports. Rufail knew he was unable to help at this point as he comforted Black’s anger.

But Black’s reaction was completely unexpected.

“Let’s find a way to help,” Black said to Rufail, “and that really shocked me. That he said no, don’t worry about me. Let’s find a way we can work together, to help our community, “said Rufail.

So, the duo connected by the photo plan to raise funds and provide relief over the coming weeks. They are working on a plan to have a marathon live stream to raise funds. And they discuss ways of coordinating the provision of food and essentials for those affected by the weather.

Whatever emerges from these plans will be important to North Texas when it comes to an untenable situation.

And it should be noted that none of this happens without a person simply helping. And so we’ll all get through together.

“It shows that people at all levels of the community care about the Dallas community,” said Black.

Rufail agrees, “That’s great about Texas. The people here are doing it the way it is, and we have to help each other now. It’s important.”

Let’s hope the vibe goes viral, just like this ice-covered fan.

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