Macie Miranda was exactly where she wanted to be when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas — right in the middle of it, rescuing people from floodwaters — and Olive Garden helped Macie get there.
The day before the storm arrived in August, she worked her last day as a server at the Olive Garden restaurant in Alvin, TX. The next day, she began her career as a firefighter/EMT at Community Volunteer Fire Department Station 1 amid Houston’s catastrophic flooding.
In what may be the record for the most intense first week in a new job, Macie helped rescue more than 100 people, working five days straight, with little rest.
She said she’s grateful to Olive Garden and General Manager April Roberts for helping her realize her career dreams and cheering her along the way. Throughout her two and a half years as a server at the restaurant, a job she enjoyed, Macie also worked part time as a firefighter and studied to become an EMT.
“April was really supportive of my career plans and my EMT training,” Macie said. “She sat down with me and my college class schedule, and we figured out together which days I could work.”
During the flooding, she worked 16 hours without a break in a rescue boat at one point, plucking people from windows and roofs. “I’m pretty proud to be a first responder.”
April was proud, too. On social media, she shared a photo from a local TV station’s Facebook page that showed Macie rescuing a boy wearing a life preserver. “That cute little boy was one of the people we helped reach dry land,” Macie said.
“I miss Macie every day,” April said, “but I’m proud of the person she has become.”