I've seen it many times, and done it myself many times.
In the middle of a parking lot, a car, minivan, whatever. spinning it's wheels. getting a little bit of movement, but the driver doesn't know how to capitalize on the little bit of kinetic energy they get when the vehicle rocks just a little.
I've seen others, and I too have gone to the door of the car, talked with the driver, made a suggestion, even reached through the window to turn the steering wheel..
Then the stuck-driver gives up, gets out, and a real driver gets in.. and within a few minutes, using careful applications of throttle, skilled steering, and understanding that you must keep the vehicle moving, using the rocking motions of the car riding up the sides and ends of the ruts in the snow..
And the vehicle gets out, and the 'real driver' gets out, turns the car back over to it's owner..
I guess just like I can't play a piano, or any musical instrument... some people can't 'feel' a vehicle's messages.