Society

Woman Left Outside In Treacherous Storm Due To Convenience Store Policy

| by Jonathan Wolfe

A woman trapped in a deadly storm in Thompson, North Dakota, earlier this week says she was denied shelter at a convenience store.  

Leanna Ihry was driving her SUV when the storm hit.

"I have a big Yukon, and it was shaking. It was so scary, and I was crying and so, so scared and just praying to God to keep me safe,” she told Valley News Live.

When she saw a convenience store with its lights on, she immediately parked and knocked on the door. Ihry begged an employee to let her inside, but was told she wasn't allowed. 

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"She said: 'You can't come in. You can't come in. You have to go to City Hall.' I said: 'Ma'am, please, I could die out here. There could be a tornado. Please let me in,' and I was sobbing, and she said, 'I can't let you in,' and shut the door in my face," Ihry said.

When asked about how employees at the store handled the situation, manager Wayne Melbye said they did the right thing.

"We've been told and we tell our folks to send people to the storm shelter which is at City Hall, which is probably about eight blocks north of here,” Melbye said. "I would back [the employee] 100 percent. That's what our policy is.”

If you ask Ilhry, the incident was a prime example of people valuing rules over common sense.

"We're so wrapped up in policies and procedures and rules, and sometimes we forget to have compassion for a human life," she said.