TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Some Hurricane Ian evacuees have traveled to west Alabama, seeking shelter at Tuscaloosa hotels. Four evacuees from the Tampa area have rooms at the Sure Stay Hotel, including Khristina Smith.
“This hotel in general was wonderful with us and other folks who evacuated the state,” Smith said. “They took great care of me my first night and they’ve done really good by me and my son.”
Hotel general manager Huey Harris surprised Smith Wednesday morning and told her she could stay at the hotel for free. Harris tells CBS 42 that the hotel is doing everything possible to help storm victims coming to Tuscaloosa, including giving discounts and waving pet fees.
“We are just those arms of support, and we care about people,” Harris said. “I am also a pastor with a master’s degree. Ministry pushes you more to care about people. I have that shepherd’s heart, a heart for the people.”
Smith says she is so thankful for the kindness and generosity the Sure Stay Hotel has shown her. Her husband and daughter decided to stay in Tampa and ride out the storm, so she is praying for her family and friends back home.
“I just hope everybody is safe. I’m a little nervous because we’ve been through many hurricanes, especially where we live we’ve been evacuated many times,” Smith said. “I’ve been keeping up with Facebook all today. All of my friends are posting live videos of the damage so far and the winds are picking up pretty huge there.”
The Sure Stay Hotel is not the only local hotel where storm evacuees are staying in Tuscaloosa. According to Wilson Hospitality President Toby Wilson, there are some Florida evacuees staying at both his Hampton Inn hotels in Tuscaloosa.