My personal story of #OpenStockholm

We received an email from  our divisions IT administrator, that there was an emergency situation and we should not go to city center, then I checked and saw what happened. I had just had a lunch with a friend of mine who was traveling at that direction and another friend who had coffee shop that area; I tried to reach them first. Of course, then I received calls from my family members told them that I am fine. Actually, since I am not an avid social media user anymore, I was not aware that city was center was blocked and I had scheduled master thesis meeting with my students at 17:00 via skype and just before that a friend visited me that she did not know what to do because all traffic is blocked and she had little son. Then I realized the impact and told her that I can drive her home after my meeting. I finished meeting earlier and then when we understood her husband is also stuck in the city, we decided to wait for him to walk- we could not got to city to pick him up. When we were walking to parking area, I thought it would be nice idea to twit that I can drive people. Husband also showed that  a bakeryshop gave him cakes free of charge when he was leaving there. How it is great action, right?

On the way, we saw hundreds of people walking and I thought I could drive more after I leave this couple but then I saw the traffic jam on the return road that presented me that it is almost impossible to drive people on this direction. After I drop the couple and saw their union with their kid, I felt good and twitted my location and asked if someone needs a drive back, after a while, I drove back, and instead of going to university, I changed my mind to go where I live, which is close, and decided to have where I live as a base to location to help people, then considering that I felt thirsty I decided that I can go to shop, buy drink and just distribute car drivers that are almost stuck in their cars. Finally when I could made to home, I left my stuff home, went to shop, tried to find something then I saw small energy drink. May be I was a bit in hurry but I could not find see or notice small cakes etc. Energy drink, I am not fun of it but it is better than nothing.

I went to järvakrog and there was a part where cars split to Scandic hotel direction or go to directly city, my plan was to go to corner and distribute to the people. I know it is not optimal place to stay but today was extraordinary and I assumed traffic police and others would understand that is OK to distribute. I went there but then I saw that, people thought I was selling it, some slowed down asked me : “Vad säljer du”. I answered : “Gratis”, It is free. A girl slowed down and then she asked I tried to give her and said Gratis but then she smiled and left. Anyhow, I was not prepared to situation that I would be thought I was “selling” something because, to me, it is a moment to share not to gain benefit from. I went to oil station and tried to find something to write: Gratis and Free. I wrote it, but at the same time, being in the split section, not a good place to stand, I did not know what to do be more helpful. I just stopped sat on the grass, at the corner of the road between scandic hotel and main road, tried to think. I thought, maybe I can stand at bus station and give to cars. Of course, then I saw, cars do not enter there since it is “bus” line but there were lots of people left there since airport couches could not go to city center. While I was thinking what to do with all these drinks, I decided to leave all at the station and put the text next to it: Gratis/Free. While I was there one took it and I saw people were wondering how to go to penteldåg train station because according to trains were working, then it was an opportunity to show them how to go because, even though it is close, it is not easy to know how to go there from järvakrog to train station. We were four people walking there. One asked me if I have a car, I said yes, and asked me if I could drive. Direction was in south then I said, if trains are not working, you are welcome to be guest for couple of hours and then I drive them to their location. One’s card did not work, I helped. I gave my number to one of them in case trains does not come, they can just call me. I had to leave instead of waiting at station to see if I can be more useful. Meanwhile I was checking if anyone wrote me, until then my hashtag was #drottninggatan name of the street but when I checked that hashtag I saw #openstockholm and decided to use this hashtag, I gave my location and said, if anyone needs a place to stay we have food, friendship and sofa. I Norwegain guy was stuck there did not know how to go to somewhere in Solna, I knew a shortcut to there where I assumed there would not be traffic jam. We met next to Ibis hotel and I drove him back, he wanted to give me snuss but I said I do not use and I do not need, it is just the moment that we should help each other. When I was driving him, I saw some people at bus station close to ulriksdal center and slowed down to ask where they were going then they were 4-5 people, I decided to return back to them after I leave this guy. I left him, moved back, on my way saw a guy stopped next to him if he needs lift, he did not and at ulriksdal, the group was not there and did few rounds to ask people if they need a drive. I assumed if they are walking on few location, they might have arrived by train, were tried, I could save them to walk 3 to 5 km of walk since buses did not work. One guy was so happy that I offered help but he said he almost arrived.

When I was at home, I saw someone was offering flat in uplands väsby and someone else were stuck there and it seemed they did not see eachother’s message, I combined them, prospective host was very proactive lady and she was asked me to tag their twitt. Then I saw a guy’s message that his family was stuck in central. I was not sure I could go there due to security measures but I offered him that we can host them if they can make to Ulriksdal. I assumed central traffic would be blocked but may be they could take train to there as other people that I left to Ulriksdal station.

Anyhow, noticing compassion and open hearth of people at #openstockholm I felt so nice that we do not only rely on state and ask state organizations to help but we could help ourselves. What I did was nothing compared to other peoples’ help ( in addition to police, doctors,nurces, security personal, officers ). Imagine, people opened their offices, their homes, shared what they have in their stores, cookies, cakes, pizzas, I saw people offering help to drive people with their cars. Compared to what they did, I did nothing because no one stayed as a guest and asked more help from me. I just share this not do say I did anything but just to show how it is important that our little help can change peoples’ day.

To be honest, from my point of view, I felt very good to be able to help and at least offer help and respond some people, I think what I gained from this experience is much nicer than the people that I could do a little help. I slept very late after I followed twitter if I could help anyone else around my vicinity by monitoring discussion at #openstockholm, then I had fallen asleep but with very optimistic feelings about the Swedish society . I woke up a bit late and started to write this blog post, meanwhile I found out that Jenny Nguyen started this hashtag. Salut to her.

Now, I feel very tried but better than 17:00 pm yesterday and I am glad that #openstockholm was more actvive than #stockholmattack. I hope we will never ever experience anything like this and I wish power to victims, relatives and friends of victims and to all Stockholm and Sweden.

I know one thing now: we are more united than ever in Stockholm, as Stockholmers from every background #SharingisCaring

P.S: #openstockholm hastag would be used much better if we could have two hashtags one for #offeringasking for help one for #sharing feelings and other information, but in any case, it was a great momentum where people could help each other.

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