Mattress Mack: A Harvey hero

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - The morning after Hurricane Harvey hit, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale waded through nearly 3 feet of floodwater in his own home and headed straight to his Gallery Furniture store on I-45.

He rounded up his employees and dispatched his delivery trucks to rescue people stranded in high water.

He then went on Facebook Live, throwing open the doors of his showrooms to those desperately seeking shelter.

His showrooms became makeshift shelters in which hundreds of evacuees and dozens of National Guard troops could catch some much-needed shut eye on Mack's beloved Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

When he was interviewed by Houston Life's Derrick Shore, Mack as always, was incredibly humble.

He said, "These are human beings. They're stressed out. They're anxious. They've been through a tremendous trauma and they need a safe place to come and sit down, have a cup of coffee, have a warm meal. What's wrong with that?"

Most Houstonians know Mattress Mack for his outlandish commercials promising to "save you money!"

Over the decades, he's been one of Houston's most generous corporate donors.

His response to Harvey shone a national spotlight on Mack.

He told KPRC Channel 2, "I feel a big responsibility to Houston because Houston's been so good to us -- the McIngvale family and all the Gallery Furniture employees. These customers -- they're my people, so what am I going to do? Let them drown?"

In the weeks and months after the storm, Mack never let up.

As the holidays drew near, he hosted a massive Thanksgiving feast at Gallery Furniture.

He arranged for Metro shuttle buses to bring some 10,000 Houstonians to his store parking lot for turkey with all the trimmings.

One hurricane survivor told Channel 2, "He's the greatest. He's a great man."

Knowing Christmas would be especially hard on so many who had lost so much, Mack marked his 35th annual Christmas Giveaway by surprising 30 local families with a house full of furniture.

One of the first to be gifted was the Saldivar family, who lost six family members in the storm.

Mack said, "What matters is we all have a responsibility for the well-being of the community and we're just trying to do our part."

In the aftermath of Harvey, Jim McIngvale has been called a saint by some and a hero by others.

Deeply rooted in his faith, he reminds all of us of the true meaning of giving that lies deep in the heart of Texas.

A Change.org petition to name Aug. 26 "Mattress Mack Day" in Houston has garnered more than 128,000 signatures.

Mack's Rebuild Texas GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $100,000 for displaced families.
 

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