Old Dominion honors driver for saving autistic boy

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Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. has honored one of its drivers for an act of highway heroism.

Harold Hyde, a Nashville, Tennessee pickup and delivery driver, is the recipient of the company’s 2020 John Yowell OD Family Spirit Award.

Old Dominion driver Harold Hyde of Nashville, TennesseeOld Dominion driver Harold Hyde of Nashville, Tennessee

In August 2019, Hyde was driving on McCrory Lane in Davidson County (Tennessee) while en route to a customer delivery when he noticed cars swerving to miss an object in the road, according to a statement from the company. As he approached, he realized the object in the road was a 4-year-old boy.

Hyde immediately pulled his tractor-trailer across both lanes of traffic to barricade the street and jumped out of his truck. The youngster, autistic and non-verbal, had managed to unlock the front door of his home and wandered onto the road. Another Good Samaritan stopped to assist Hyde, called the police, and the young boy was safely returned home to his family.

“I am humbled to be recognized with the John Yowell award,” said Hyde. “It’s inspiring to be associated with the legacy of Mr. Yowell and past recipients of the award. My job allows me to interact with the great people of Nashville and beyond, and I will continue to strive for excellence in my work while serving my community. I’m just thankful for the chance to do something positive for someone else.”

Old Dominion created the award in 2011 following the untimely death of former executive vice president and chief operating officer, John Yowell. Yowell epitomized a family culture, which serves as a key operating philosophy for the leading less-than-truckload carrier, according to the company. The award is given to an employee who showcases an unabashed devotion to helping others.

Hyde has been a pickup and delivery driver for Old Dominion since 2007.

In September of 2019 Hyde was driving on his local route making customer deliveries when he saw an overturned SUV with a pregnant woman trapped inside. Hyde rushed to rescue the woman from the vehicle before first responders could arrive.

“Harold’s continued commitment to going above and beyond for his community and Old Dominion customers naturally sets him apart,” said Greg Gantt, president and CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line. “His uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and humble heroism make him the true picture of a John Yowell OD Family Spirit Award winner.”

As part of the recognition, Hyde received $1,000 to donate to a charity of his choice. He selected the True Joy Community Program, an organization that provides healthy meals and snacks to children in low-income areas in an effort to decrease hunger, obesity, and to promote health and nutrition.