Cold workers with warm attitudes in Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. – On a windy, chilly day in the Piedmont, thousands of people reported to work knowing they’d be in the cold most of the day.

But as FOX8 followed sanitation workers, police officers and drive-thru window operators Tuesday, the cold weather only seemed to freeze a smile on their faces.

Ronald Hedrick has worked with the City for 21 years; the last six were with the sanitation department, he said.

Tuesday Hedrick was collecting yard waste including dozens of Christmas trees. The biggest problem he and his partner had were leaves that froze in bunches inside cans and bins.

“We try not to bang them too hard! The moisture and rain builds up and just freezes inside,” he explained. Hedrick said sometimes people complain there are a few leaves left in their bins, but there’s not much crews can do until temperatures thaw out.

He said it’s especially nice when people appreciate their hard work in the cold weather. “This morning a woman came out and gave us a cup of coffee you and thanked us and we didn’t even do nothing for her, we were just going by,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Chuck Alston runs the Biscuitville on Bridford Parkway. Company representatives told FOX8 Alston runs the fastest Biscuitville drive-thru in the Piedmont.

Workers there were moving especially fast Tuesday, only keeping drive-thru windows open long enough to greet customers and pass along their orders.

“We try to make sure we keep everything brief and fast and make sure we get those orders accurate so we don’t have to have those windows open too long,” Alston explained.

He makes sure anyone working the window has on layers and keeps a positive attitude. “Customers always have positive things to say to us. They thank us for actually being here in the cold.”

Greensboro Police officers with the Community Response Team are on an especially cold patrol this week.

Officer K.D. Wilson said they are spending evening and nights going into homeless camps to make sure anyone living outside knows there are emergency shelters available.

“It was really cold outside to the point that it hurt,” Wilson admitted, saying creeks were frozen when they were working Monday night. “We were out in our wood lines, looking through our homeless camps. We documented maybe over 60 people we came in contact with.”

Officer Wilson said there are at least 15 homeless camps just downtown Greensboro, and his team checks on every one. “We’re going to do it again tonight as well so we’re just trying to make sure everyone gets out because if you don’t with this cold weather, hypothermia can set in pretty fast,” he pointed out. “To our surprise sometimes you run across new camps we didn’t know about, or find people sleeping under bridges.”

Officers on this patrol are wearing plain clothes and working with local churches, recreation centers, and non-profits that are offering emergency warming shelters.

“We’re not just here to take people to jail. We really are here to care for the community,” said Officer Wilson.