Dear Trucker in the Rain on Amnicola Hwy today –
I really feel like I need to have a word with you. In retrospect, I really should have turned my car around today and tracked you down. Had I done so, I probably couldn’t have been held responsible for my actions, though. You see, if you had pulled that truck over, parked, and stepped out, I likely would’ve tackled you right there on the spot. And then possibly laid a big kiss on you. Adrenaline’s like that. It sometimes causes your emotions to get all confused where you do inappropriate things. Or maybe that’s just me and my emotions. As it turns out, you were safe from being assaulted in this manner only because I was shaking so badly from head to toe, the only thing I could think to do was remain on auto-pilot and head back in the direction of my work.
You and I are one of a few select people who know what you did today. Yet, you’ll never receive a commendation for it. I’ll never even know your name. Heck, I don’t even know what kind of truck it was you were driving, besides a pretty one. Let me take that back. It may have been the most beautiful truck I’ve ever seen before in my life – which I still have today (my life, I mean), thanks to you.
As I was sitting there on Amnicola around 2:00, hemmed in by thick traffic at the stop light in the rain, I saw you in my side mirror as you pulled out of the fast lane and started to come up the wet turn lane. I didn’t think too much about it. But just before you came up beside me, something else caught my eye. A little white car came flying out across the two lanes of traffic from my side – and right into your path. As it darted out from behind the black SUV, an old memory flashed through my mind. I thought of a time I saw a German Shepherd dart across a few lanes of traffic when a small pick-up truck hit him. Emphasis on small truck and big dog. Nevertheless, I won’t describe what I saw happen to that dog; it’s too gruesome. I will say it made me cry hysterically for the next two hours. So it didn’t take too much imagination for me to realize that, when your big truck t-boned that little compact car today, I was about to see something much worse.
When you laid down on those brakes and your truck began to bounce, I knew you could see the worst of the possibilities too, despite the fact you were already jack-knifing while sliding down that lane. I sucked in a breath and held it, praying for you and whoever was in that little car, thinking there was no physical way you’d be able to stop in time. I could already hear and see the future debris flying. That’s when I realized there would be another consequence to your decision. That debris wasn’t going to come my way as quickly as your trailer, which was about to take out the entire driver’s side of my own little compact car. I believe I understand enough physics to know that, even after that, that trailer wouldn’t have stayed upright. I’m guessing it likely would’ve toppled onto me and/or the someone else in front of me. I really don’t know how you did the next thing you did, but I watched you pull your wheels the other direction and somehow straighten out your load – while still managing to avoid a certain death about to take place in front of you. Your truck may have bounced and skidded back and forth, but in a gentlemanly fashion, you made sure it kept all of its body parts to itself.
Sir, I commend you on your lightning-fast reflexes. I realize that the person in the little white car had absolutely zero chance of living beyond you stopping in time. I also realize that my only fighting chance would’ve been increased had I been able to get out of my seatbelt, climb over to the passenger side of my vehicle, and dive into the floorboard had that trailer continued coming my way. We both know that Mission Impossible scenario still has a lot of holes in it. Thank God your real reflexes were much faster than my make-believe ones could’ve ever been.
I also commend you on whatever expert driving skills those were that you displayed today. That being said, please don’t take offense to my next words. This event somehow reminded me of watching one of my boys when he was little, playing in the living room with his Tonka truck, picking it up and setting it down exactly in the spot he deemed it should be. You’ll have to forgive me if this example seems too simplistic for the actions you took, but from my point of view, it was like watching the hand of God reach down and do the same with you. I take comfort in that.
Most of all, I commend you on your heart of gold. It was obvious that you were aware of and concerned about not only yourself, but all of those around you on that road today. Because of your quick, alert and clear-headed actions, one or more of us went home to families who would’ve otherwise missed us this evening. When I told my teenage son our story, I can assure you that he expressed his gratitude to you. So please believe me when I tell you that – even though I may never know your name and even though you probably heard no gratitude beyond the gratefulness you had over the silence when you stopped – your actions didn’t go unnoticed. Today, I feel the need to let others know – you truly are my hero.
God bless you.