Small kindness helps family through Irma
Woman sent instructions to make her own donair
Natasha Snow Heywood cried the moment she bit into her donair on Saturday.
Understandably, the reaction had a lot to do with the fear the Halifax native had been holding onto for days, knowing there was no way she and her children could escape the wrath of hurricane Irma. Her husband was away working at the time.
But the tears also represented her affection for home. That very donair represented a gesture of kindness that she had longed for and had come to take for granted before leaving Nova Scotia for central Florida seven years ago.
That donair was the product of a simple Facebook post the mother of three wrote last Thursday. She was reacting to a story posted on a Halifax news media Facebook page, predicting the coming wrath of hurricane Irma.
“If someone can send me a donair pizza down south to central Florida, it would be appreciated,” she wrote from her Lakeland home.
She was in luck. A top-shelf recipe for donair meat and sauce made its way into her inbox hours later.
She was overjoyed.
Two days later, a day before she would experience the scariest two hours of her life, Snow Heywood bought the supplies and went to work. It was glorious, just like the last one she’d gobbled down seven years prior to that moment. Her kids shared in her exultation.
“It was just overwhelmingly nice and it just reminded me of how great up home is,” she recalled.
“When I took the first bite I cried but I was skeptical, wondering if it would taste like it does up home and it was everything I could remember seven years ago.”
She took to We Love Nova Scotia’s Facebook page to declare her gratitude for the small act of kindness shown to her by a fellow Nova Scotian. She posted a picture of the creation, and an outpouring of support ensued.
“I just wanted to say thank you. It’s a small gesture and it went a long way for me with the stress of the hurricane. I wasn’t expecting to have such an outpouring of support from people.”
It was what she needed to steel herself for Sunday’s horror.
“It came right over our city about 1 a.m. this morning (Monday) and it was really scary,” she said. “We packed ourselves in a little hallway, me, my three kids and three dogs.
“Everything shook. I thought the windows were going to blow in. It was this horrible screeching wind. I never heard anything like it. I’ve never been that scared. Everything went silent and then it started back up. It was the longest two hours of my life. I kissed my kids on the forehead and just prayed.
“After it was all over, there was a lot of damage around us. We walked out of there unscathed, no property damage. Our neighbour lost his roof. A part of a whole tree was in someone’s windshield. An old willow tree came out of its roots and almost crushed someone’s house.”
What about the woman who came through in the clutch for a fellow Nova Scotian? As it happens, Kirsten Anne MacDonald, a donair connoisseur from Dartmouth, was just doing her job as one Maritimer looking after another.
“I was so happy that something so small would bring her so much joy,” said MacDonald. “But that’s my roots, the way I’ve been brought up and a lot of us have been. You look out for each other and you help anyone out you can in a time of need.”
As for the recipe, it’s top secret. MacDonald would not say from which local donair establishment it comes from.
On Monday afternoon, Snow Heywood was at a friend’s place preparing to make more donairs. She’s also counting down her next visit to Halifax in the coming weeks.
“You can’t imagine how excited I am.”
Thanks to the kindness of a fellow Nova Scotian, Natasha Snow Heywood and her family were able to enjoy some home style comfort food in Florida while Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc there over the weekend.