20 years after Y2K panic, what happened to the guy with a bunker of food?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Many are preparing for the end of a decade and making plans for new roads in 2020 and beyond. But most, who are too young to remember, don’t know that 20 years ago, many were preparing, not for the end of a decade but the end of life as we know it.

We checked back in with a man, who appeared in a 1999 WHAS11 story, whose family was Y2K ready.

Looking back, Todd Neumann can now laugh at that bunker of food and supplies, but 20 years ago, it was a different story.

“You know, there’s people out there that I’ve talked to that have said, ‘nothing is going to happen,’” Neumann told us in December of 1999. “What are you basing that on? Nobody knows. No one.”

He wasn’t alone on the eve of Y2K. Some people rushed grocery stores, buying supplies, water and gas.

While not everyone was worried, plenty were on edge.

“We’re average, every day folk that are a little concerned, and we’re not going to depend on somebody else if something does happen,” Neumann said in 1999.

With the world more computer-reliant than ever before, experts theorized doomsday scenarios when technology rang in the new year and zeros and ones of binary code saw nothing but “00”.

Would time run out on civilization?

Police got ready. Governments ran disaster drills. Hospitals not only stocked up on supplies, some filled bathtubs preparing for possible wide spread power and water outages. There was one type of story that topped the rest—those who prepped like Neumann’s family.

“Well, it turned out to be nothing, but no one knew at that time,” Neumann told us as we caught up with him in 2019. “So, it was a little concerning for us, but it turned out to be just another day. We woke up again the next day and nothing changed. Life went on.”

As far as all that food in the bunker, Neumann assured us it didn’t go to waste.

“We ate it. We had a big party and ate it all,” Neumann laughed. 

A lot has changed in 20 years. Neumann’s nephew, who appeared with him in the 1999 story, became a dad this week. There’s new life and new hope as we head into the new decade.

There was no doomsday moment when the clock struck midnight all those years ago. Instead people danced, sang and kissed by laser light.

Maybe the lesson of that time is that as we face worries, fears and uncertainty on a national and global level, reality does not always live up to the hype of fear.

The sun will rise again on a new day, and chances are that most everything will be OK.

“The zombie apocalypse. Now, that I’d like to see,” Neumann joked.

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