An 82-year-old Farmingdale man said he was grateful — and able to get out of his driveway — thanks to a Nassau County police officer who stopped to help him shovel snow.
Gerard Cote had cleared his driveway of about 6 inches of snow on Friday with a snowblower, but during rush hour, plows on Melville Road had piled ice and slush in front of the home Cote shares with his wife, Marie.
Cote ventured out again to shovel the driveway clear.GuideSnowstorm survival tipsStorySnow shoveling risks, tips and tricksSTORYWinter driving tips for skidding, getting stranded
“I had suggested he wait until our son came home from work and he said, ‘Oh I’ll just do a little bit,’ ” Marie, 75, recalled.
But as Cote began to shovel, Officer Kyle Klein pulled over in his squad car.
“I guess he saw me out there and saw I was a senior citizen and thought he’d do me a favor, which I really appreciated,” Cote said. “He just said, ‘Here, let me give you a hand.’ ”
Klein, a Second Precinct patrol officer, has been with the department since 1998.
Before helping Cote, Klein said he had responded to a call at a house around the corner where a man shoveling snow had gone into cardiac arrest.
That man survived, but it was on the officer’s mind when he saw Cote.
“I didn’t need someone else to have a heart attack,” Klein said. “It’s one of the scenarios where it could be my father or grandfather or my neighbor. There’s no reason why I can’t help him out.”
Klein said he and other officers have shoveled walkways before for residents who need help. It only took about 10 minutes to clear Cote’s driveway, he said.
“If you see it and they need a hand, then you give a hand,” he said. “Almost everyone I work with would do the same thing.”
Marie Cote said their house sits on a busy stretch of road and no one had ever stopped to help her husband with shoveling before.
“I said to my husband, you see, this only proves how good they [police] are, for all the negative things that are being said about them,” she said.
“It was very surprising and refreshing all in one bit,” Gerard Cote added.