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Monday, 16 December 2013

Walk-in Cooler Stories

When this knob is pushed from the inside, the door opens.
Last Friday I spent the first part of my day volunteering at a food hamper program where my husband is employed full-time.  The first job I was assigned was sorting donations of yogurt by their “best before” dates.  The idea is to hand out yogurt that is getting close to this date and save the freshest yogurt for later.  Since these dairy products are perishable, my work space was a walk-in cooler.  Wearing my coat, hat and gloves, I went through numerous plastic totes to organize every brand, flavour and container size of yogurt imaginable.
   Being inside the walk-in cooler with the door latched did not bother me at all because there was an inside-release knob that I could press to exit whenever I needed a break.  It reminded me of a time my father had a similar experience, except without the inside-release knob.
   It was a late December afternoon at our mink farm.  Our walk-in cooler was used to refrigerate the meaty feed which was given to our animals, but in December the thermostat was set to freezing to store pelts that needed processing at a later date.  This particular Sunday my dad went out to check something inside the cooler/freezer when a gust of wind slammed the door shut.  Fortunately there was a light switch inside, but to his dismay the (removable) inside-release knob was hanging somewhere OUTSIDE of the cooler.  My dad was stuck inside with no way to get out.
   He gathered his wits and immediately turned the thermostat up from the freezing mark.  He assured himself that after the family had finished watching the hour-long program “The Wonderful World of Disney,” they would come looking for him. 

   Warm inside our house my sister, mother and I were oblivious to what was going on.  I was the one sent out to look for Dad, no doubt complaining about all the gear I needed to put on.  As I approached various outbuildings I must have called out his name, until I heard a muffled voice from inside the well-insulated cooler.  When I opened the heavy door, he was so glad to see me.  He was hoarse from yelling but otherwise unharmed.  From that day forward, the inside-release knob was kept where it belonged.

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