When Satchel Smith, 21, arrived for work at Homewood Suites in Beaumont, Texas, he expected to start at 3 p.m. and leave around 11 that night. That was until tropical storm Imelda flooded the area, leaving 90 guests trapped in the hotel. For the next 32 hours, Smith was the only staff, as flooded roads kept his co-workers from getting to work. Said one guest, "He manned the phones, answered our questions, made sure we had a cup of hot coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast. He did it all with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile."
He was chef, maintenance man, room service attendant and everything else, even without experience. When he resolved to try cooking, a guest helped him prepare breakfast. A few others helped prepare dinner, a simple chicken pasta with garlic bread. "Everyone seemed thankful for it," Smith said. So thankful that they noticed out the windows there were drivers stuck on the flooded highways. So Smith and the guests braved the flood to distribute food and water to stalled truckers. After spending three days together, Smith said, "It was basically like a big family." And all agreed he was a hero.