A Philly flurry of kind gestures

    Philadelphia residents are helping their city earn its nickname. Many residents of “The City of Brotherly Love” are pitching in to help neighbors dig out today.

    Caption: Tito Cobb planned to shovel the sidewalk in front of his house, his neighbor’s house and abandoned house next door.

    Philadelphia residents are helping their city earn its nickname. Many residents of “The City of Brotherly Love” are pitching in to help neighbors dig out today.

    Like many city residents, North Philadelphian Tito Cobb is spending his day off shoveling.

    After spending a half hour clearing his sidewalk, Cobb planned to clear the sidewalks in front of the abandoned house next door.and in front of the empty lot on the other side.

    Cobb: I’m gonna try to get in front of my neighbor’s house as well. Just to be neighborly. I know there’s a lot of women that live there. So try to get out and be helpful. Be a good neighbor like the Mayor was saying.

    Around the time many Philadelphians would have been heading to work on a normal day, Keith Warren is firing up his snowblower at his house in North Philadelphia.

    Keith Warren used his snowlbower to clear the sidewalk in front of his house - and his disabled neighbor's house.
    Keith Warren used his snowlbower to clear the sidewalk in front of his house - and his disabled neighbor's house.

    Warren’s tired; he just got back from his overnight shift as a Supervisor for the city’s Streets Department.

    Warren: I been working probably 18 hour days since last Friday evening… 24 The SUV craze has really made snow removal hard. A lot of people think because they have SUVs they can venture out and they wind up stuck and we spend a lot of time and resources getting people out of the snow when we could be plowin streets.

    Weary as he is, Warren says he’ll also clear his neighbor’s sidewalk – because that person is disabled. Then, he says, he’ll grab some sleep.

    Nearby, Albert Murphy is also helping a disabled person – his son. After helping his son dig out, he starts looking for others who might need his services.

    Murphy: I don’t charge much usually whatever a person might can afford you know. The elderly people usually might have maybe two or three dollars or somethin like that but it be mainly lookin’ out for them, for me. The other people that make money – people do give me 20, 30 dollars and more but elderly people if they was to give me two or three dollars, I’d just say ‘Have a good day,’ and go on off.

    Then Murphy heads off into the snowy streets of North Philadelphia – snow shovel in hand.

    (Do you have your own story of neighbors helping neighbors during the storm? Tell us here, or on WHYY’s Facebook page.)

    Bonus material: WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler was interviewed for NPR’s All Things Considered about how area residents were coping. The storm dropped 15.8 inches on Philadelphia.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.