BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Despite some of the coldest temperatures many in southwest Michigan have felt in years, some are still braving the elements, trying to get to where they need to go. Driving around Battle Creek on Wednesday, Newschannel 3 spotted a few people walking in the brutal conditions.
One reason is because the city's public transit system was shut down, a decision Battle Creek leaders made for the safety of the staff and riders, trying to discourage them from being outside at all.
Billy Sidney didn't let that slow him down, walking out in the cold he appeared as a symbol of pure determination.
"It is wicked out here. It really is," Sidney said.
Newschannel 3 followed Sidney as he attempted to walk to a job interview a few miles away.
"Well I got a car. Mine broke down last week," Sidney said. "I didn't even know it, but I sat out at the bus for about a half hour just a little bit ago, and somebody stopped by to let me know that the buses were cancelled for today."
A wind chill equal to what could be felt in Antarctica wasn't going to stop Sidney from making it to his interview, a journey he said would take an hour and a half.
"I wish somebody had told me about this last night. I would've rescheduled my appointment," he said.
While some might question if any job is worth walking in such freezing temperatures, Sidney said he has children to feed, and he came prepared.
"Well, I triple layered up before I even left the house," he said. "It is bitter cold out here. I mean you walk, and you even breath a little bit. Your eyelashes freeze shut, and if you got a mustache or a beard like me, it kind of freezes together."
On days as bitter as Wednesday, Billys are hard to come by, which he said is a good thing.
"I have seen one person out walking besides myself," Sidney said. "Because they don't want to go out in this anymore than I did, but I didn't have a choice."
Sidney made it to his interview. After following him for 10 minutes, Newschannel 3 gave him a ride.
Not all communities are taking the same approach as Battle Creek. Kalamazoo Metro Transit remained open Wednesday. Executive Director Sean McBride said the operation staff is committed to maintaining service, and that Metro Transit is an essential service to the Kalamazoo community.
"There are still people that need to get to their jobs. There are still people that need to get to medical appointments, and sometimes we're their only choice, and we want to make sure we continue to provide that service," McBride said.