A Canadian trucker who comforted a fellow driver who died in a two-truck collision last year is the 2017 Highway Angel of the Year.
John Weston, a driver for Challenger Motor Freight of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada was honored Monday at the Truckload Carrier Association’s annual convention at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
TCA recounted what Weston did when it originally recognized him:
On Friday morning, October 27, 2017, Weston had finished a load and was driving on Highway 401 East back to the yard when he came across a high-speed rear end collision involving two tractor-trailers. When hestopped, there were no emergency services on the scene, and other vehicles continued to drive past.
He checked in the cab of the first truck and saw that the two drivers were unharmed, so he went back to the rear truck. There was debris and glass scattered across the road. He found the driver upside down still strapped to his seat and unable to move in the mangled cab. The driver called out, “Open the door! Open the door!” But there was no door anymore. Weston could only see the top of the driver’s head.
Weston said to the driver, “Would you mind if I put my hand on your head so you know that I’m with you?” He wanted to make sure the driver felt comforted and was relaxed. The driver was not visibly bleeding, but he said he couldn’t feel anything. John continued to talk to him, holding his head for the next half hour. Weston was the last person to talk to him. The driver passed away.
“If he would have had a team, or a pet, someone would have been there for him,” Weston said. “But for some reason it was supposed to be me that stopped that day. I was there with him when he passed away, with my hands on his head. He did not have pain in his voice, and he did not seem nervous. His name was Abdul he told me. He heard my English accent and I heard his foreign tongue, and in that time, not race nor religion nor anything else mattered. All that mattered was that I was there for him in his last moments, and I know that means a lot to families.”
This wasn’t Weston’s only angelic act. A year prior, he spotted a car in a ditch at 2 a.m. in 26-degree weather, and climbed down to discover a mother and kids in the car. He pulled them out and let them rest in his truck to keep warm until paramedics arrived.
“It’s just what we do,” he said. “You change a tire so someone can get home. It’s always someone’s mother or grandmother or friend. It’s what we do. You’re there, you do your job, and then you disappear.”
EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job, according to the TCA.