Without Saying a Word

Without Saying a Wordby Valerie Halder
Michigan, USA

Since my early teens my parents have been avid RVers, touring the country in their motor home. After I grew up and left home, they spent even more time on the road, sometimes traveling for months at a time.

My father, who has a flawless driving record, was the driver, and my mother was his co-pilot and navigator. I never worried about them because they’re two of the healthiest people I know, and take excellent care of their vehicle. I never thought about what could happen due to the negligence of other people — or what would happen if they suddenly needed help.

In late October 1988, my parents were heading home after touring the southern United States. My father was in the left lane, where the ride was smoother. He noticed an oncoming car across the median that was swerving and speeding up. Suddenly, the car crossed the median, launched into the air, and struck my parents’ motor home in the side. The motor home tipped onto the passenger side and skidded down the highway, directly toward an overpass.

Luckily, the motor home stopped before reaching the overpass, but the two passenger side doors were against the ground and the only other door was crushed on impact. My parents had been wearing seat belts, so they were badly bruised but alive. My mother’s hand was smashed up because her window was down when they crashed, but the injury wasn’t life-threatening.

My parents heard people stop their cars and run toward them. My dad couldn’t get the driver’s door open, so they decided to wait for help to get out. Then they heard people holler that the motor home was on fire!

They had on board a full load of propane for cooking and heating. My father tried to kick the windshield out; it wouldn’t budge. My parents and the onlookers were growing frantic.

Suddenly my parents heard people cheer and yell, “The fire is out and help is on the way!” Someone tore out the overhead sleeping compartment window and helped my parents escape. When outside and breathing fresh air again, they asked what had happened.

A semi-truck driver had stopped to help. The driver jumped down, got a fire extinguisher from his rig, and fearlessly went about putting out the blaze that could have exploded at any second. When the flames were out, he simply climbed back in his truck and drove away. No one thought to get the license number or even notice what company the truck was from.

This selfless trucker without a doubt allowed my parents to survive that accident. We never got to thank him for his actions, but we’ll always be grateful. If you know this man please thank him for us. If you don’t, please thank another trucker for us: for being out there, being prepared, and being willing to come to the aid of motorists in need, no matter what the circumstances.

Originally published as HeroicStories #469 on Dec 11, 2003

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