PAINCOURTVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Two strangers. One unthinkable meeting. Lives changed forever.
"When I heard the First Alert Action Day, actually I think I heard about it the night before," David Sagona, owner of Sagona's Hardware in Paincourtville begins. "Had a few employees call me if we were gonna open. And I said yes we're gonna open but we're gonna monitor the weather."
Little did David know at the time he'd be 'sheltering in place' in his store's bathroom with 10 employees and two customers late in the afternoon on February 23.
"As I was shutting down the computer, I could hear the freight train coming," said David describing the sound of the approaching tornado.
While his ordeal was unfolding inside the store, FedEx driver Kyra Johnson was about to experience a life changing event of her own outside.
"But when I came out the store it was really dark and the sky was swirling really scary," Kyra explained. "So I thought let me take a video so that everyone will be able to see."
While Kara was recording the approaching storm on her cell phone, the wind and rain picked up instantly. And in a flash, Kyra found herself outside the front door of Sagona's Hardware in the middle of a tornado.
"I run up to the door and I'm banging trying to get in, but the door wouldn't open," said Kyra describing her ordeal. "So I immediately turn around, but that's when debris was already flying in the air. I couldn't go anywhere. So only thing there was the soda machine and the front door and that's where you'll see, well you can't see me, but I just braced myself like this between the soda machine and the front door until the sign came down, the roof came in.
"I know I did ask God at that moment, ya know, what do I do. And I heard the door flapping and this is the one that you see that is pulled back, and that's the door that I held onto until everything stopped."
When the tornado passed and everything had settled down, Kyra realized she had not one scratch on her body! And inside, David Sagona and crew were okay too.
Kyra had just been in the store moments ago making a delivery. Her thoughts immediately went to the people still inside this now completely destroyed building.
David nominated Kyra for WAFB's Hand It On for her courage, bravery and concern for others.
Our crew met David and Kyra at the store site a week later. Kyra was surprised and quite touched by David's gesture.
"You know Hand It On?" David asked a curious Kyra. "Well, congratulations. I nominated you for Hand It On. Here's $300 for you to do whatever you want
to do with it. And you know, we definitely appreciate you, everything you've been through, your bravery to come back in the store to check on us. You're an amazing woman. I don't know what else to say but you are one amazing woman."
"This is a heck of a surprise," Kyra responded, now crying. "I would have never known. We watch Hand It On but I'm the Hand It On. That's so cool. Oh my gosh. I just have to do the right thing. Thank you Jesus! Thank you."
To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially phone number.