IRVING, Texas — When Irving resident Gena Henderson found herself stranded in her car as it filled with water it was one of the most terrifying ordeals she’s had to endure.
“I was freaking out! I had to bust my sunroof open to get out, my window wouldn’t go down, my car door wouldn’t open, it was terrifying,” said Henderson.
Areas of North Texas were hit hard recently as heavy rain and strong winds caused damage to homes and roads throughout DFW. In Irving, the neighborhood near Lee Elementary experienced flood water of more than three feet on Addington Street.
Henderson's home is a short drive from where her car floated for more than 10 minutes. She’s driven through the neighborhood before but seldom takes that route. When she saw the street flooded, she didn’t realize how deep the water was until it was too late.
Her water-damaged car is just another mishap in a series of unfortunate events starting in January of this year.
“Everybody is like ‘2020 was so bad because that was COVID year.’ I had a better COVID year than I’m having this year so far. 2021 and me are not getting along so I’m ready for it to be over or for my luck to change,” said Henderson.
As she sat on the roof of her car speaking with a 911 operator, two strangers came to help push the car to a shallow spot on the street. Her car is now undriveable and she’s currently waiting to get things sorted out with her insurance agency.
Being without a car is just another setback she’s had to endure. In late January her apartment went up in flames after a fire started in the apartment below.
“I was in a hotel for a few weeks with three large dogs,” said Henderson.
After her hotel stay, she moved into a different unit at the same apartment complex.
“I wasn’t even in my new apartment two weeks and then we had the big freeze. We had no electricity during that time, and were without water for two whole months,” said Henderson.
Not too long after, she spent time in an emergency room because of a dog bite. Not from one of her own, of course.
“I’ve been through it all: fire, freeze, and flood, and throw the dog bite in there, just for extra,” she said.
When asked how she’s remained so positive after a rough year, she said her pets keep her motivated to stay strong and not focus on the negative.
“I live for my animals. They changed my life,” said Henderson. “I’ve been in sobriety for several years and they keep me sober, they keep me sane. And when I want to give up, who’s going to take care of them? Me. So I do it. That’s literally the reason.”
As she remembers the scary ordeal, she’d like to thank the two strangers who sprang into action to help in her time of need. Their kindness moved her to tears.
“It was just tears of gratitude. I can't thank them enough. I feel like they literally saved my life and calmed me down. I was freaking out,” she said.
As if the year hasn’t included enough misfortune, a week after she found herself a flood victim, she is now looking for a new place to live.
For the last three years she’s lived at the Story Hill Apartments, located at 3612 Country Club N. The complex’s management is closing the property and terminating all leases because of “extensive property damage,” following the fire in January and the freeze in February. She’s been notified she has to vacate the property by the end of June.
She doesn’t know what will come next, but said she will remember and treasure the random act of kindness from the men who calmed her down and pushed her out of the flood.
“Their kindness has restored my hope for a better half of 2021. Bring it on!” said Henderson with a smile.
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Share your ideas with DFW reporter Lupe Zapata: Lupe.Zapata@Charter.com.