Amanda Stockfelt was inside her work trailer when she heard the emergency alarms start blaring. Her 8-week-old infant was in her arms, and in an instant their world flipped upside down—literally.
“I heard the sound of a freight train and I was holding her,” Stockfelt said.
All she could think of was securing her daughter in her car seat so that she would be protected—so she did. She buckled up baby Autumn, then held on to the car seat tight and got under her desk.
A tornado was passing through New Orleans, and Stockfelt’s trailer just happened to be right in its path.
A moment later, Stockfelt heard and felt the trailer literally being ripped apart. Her coworker was thrown out one way, and she and baby Autumn were flipped over backwards—and sucked up into the vortex.
They were suspended in the turbulent air. Stockfelt saw the car seat float above her and clung on with everything she had.
“Don’t let go, just don’t let go, that’s all I could think about was don’t let go.” That was what ran through Stockfelt’s mind as they tumbled back down to the ground.
“I couldn’t think of anything else because I knew if I let go I wouldn’t be able to find her,” Stockfelt said.
She was terrified—Autumn’s eyes were closed and Stockfelt didn’t know if Autumn was dead or injured, but she could not let her out of her arms. They were covered in mud, it was raining, and everything was slippery and gross.
“I didn’t care about me, I didn’t even feel my injuries until hours later. I was just worried about her, that’s it,” Stockfelt said.
A moment later, Stockfelt had landed next to a car.
She was still in shock when the tornado had passed. Sitting in a car, Stockfelt pointed out the area where she’d landed, and a video of her went viral.
The tornado had just completely crumpled buildings and cars like pieces of paper.
Normally, Autumn isn’t even at work with Stockfelt. But the 8-week-old had a doctor’s appointment that Tuesday, so Stockfelt brought the baby to work and planned to take half of the day off to bring Autumn to the doctor.
It was just fate that the mother and daughter were together when this force of nature tore through the impound lot.
After the tornado passed, Stockfelt took Autumn out of her car seat to hold her. She opened her eyes, she looked around, “She never once cried,” Stockfelt said.
“It’s just inconceivable. I couldn’t imagine, I mean, I’m thinking my job’s gone, the only car we had is gone, but she was OK, I was OK, and everything else can be replaced,” Stockfelt said.