People of Yellow
The Yellow Team | Sept. 9, 2022
As we all know, the road can be dangerous and unpredictable. That’s especially true when your job is to operate a vehicle that can weigh as much as 40 tons when fully loaded.
At Yellow, we hire and train the best possible professionals to drive our trucks. Being a truck driver means meticulous attention to detail, problem solving and the confidence to control heavy equipment. It also involves a firm understanding of the rules of the road – being in the driver’s seat of a tractor-trailer provides a different perspective of what’s happening on the highway and a responsibility to share the road safely with other motorists.
In our opinion, these are not only excellent truck drivers, they’re also great people. You might even call them heroes. The kind of professionals who wouldn’t think twice to help someone out, even if that meant putting their own health and safety at risk.
In recognition of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, this year we’re sharing eight stories over the past year in which our professional drivers went well above and beyond their regular duties to help others in need. These are their stories:
Driver Larry Griffin from Ellenwood, Ga., witnessed a traffic accident while making a freight delivery. He checked on the car involved in the accident, and immediately took action when he noticed a passenger was hurt and in medical distress. Griffin broke the car window and pulled the passenger to safety.
His quick, heroic actions did not surprise those who know Griffin, like Ellenwood-based Operations Manager Mike Angelov.
“Larry is a great person and one of the nicest people you will meet,” he said.
Driver Richard Butler was making a delivery in Germantown, Ohio when he noticed smoke coming out of a house. Butler and a neighbor quickly jumped into action, running over to the house and helping a girl leap from her window into their arms. Ohio radio station WHIO 1290 reported on the incident – Butler is the “semi driver” mentioned in the story.
Richard Torres, distribution manager at Yellow’s Salt Lake City terminal, worked with Butler in Dayton, Ohio for eight years. He applauded “Ricky B.” for his heroism.
“He’s all trucker and a true freight guy, and an even better family man, which is why he never hesitated to jump into action,” Torres said.
Albuquerque, N.M. driver Vincent Barnes witnessed an accident and pulled his truck over to assist an injured woman, calling 911 and staying with her until an emergency crew arrived. The woman later wrote a letter to Victor’s terminal praising his actions. “You are fortunate to have such a caring, honest man in your employment,” she wrote.
St. Louis professional driver Jacob Freeman was driving on a two-lane highway when an oncoming car veered into his lane, then overcompensated while swerving back, causing the car to flip and crash into a ditch.
Freeman stopped his truck, handed his phone to a bystander to call 911, then used a crowbar to break the windows of the car and help the driver and two passengers get out to safety. The emergency personnel who arrived on the scene thanked Freeman for his help. They said he did an amazing job of not only avoiding an accident but also taking heroic action in helping the family out of their car.
During a routine delivery in Seattle, driver Julie Young used her CPR training to keep an unresponsive customer alive until paramedics could arrive on the scene. Her quick actions likely saved the customer’s life.
Detroit driver Victor Sprindys was returning to his terminal when he spotted a motorcyclist who had been hit by a car. The man was unconscious and badly bleeding.
Sprindys stopped his truck and quickly came to the man’s aid, applying pressure to his wound while also calling 911. According to police, his actions made it possible for emergency workers to save the man’s life.
Being a truck driving hero doesn’t always involve a traffic accident or a daring rescue. Sometimes, it’s pitching in to help people in need. Last December, Yellow driver Herschel Evans teamed up with Convoy of Care to drive one of eight tractor-trailers hauling goods collected from Georgia residents to those impacted by the deadly tornados in western Kentucky.
Earlier in 2021, Evans joined forces with Convoy of Care to help those communities affected by Hurricane Ida. “It’s a testament to the trucking companies. The trucking companies – They’re good people” Evans told Atlanta station WSB-TV in a story about the December convoy.
New Jersey driver Carl Owens was on Route 1 in New Brunswick around 3 a.m. on Aug. 26, returning to his terminal, when he spotted a car on the road that was upside down.
He immediately pulled over to see if the driver was okay when the car caught fire. Owens grabbed an extinguisher from his truck, put out the fire and broke a window to pull the young man out of the car safely – just before the fire started again.
“Carl checked the car one more time with a flashlight to make sure it was empty,” said Sean Mckittrick, manager of the Trenton, N.J. terminal. “That kid was lucky Carl stopped because it could have been life-ending.”
These stories are some of the more dramatic examples of the actions that professional truck drivers take on the roads every day. But being a truck driving hero doesn’t have to involve a life-saving situation. It can mean driving millions of accident-free miles, as many Yellow drivers have done. It can mean 30 years of safe driving, combined with a passion for safety training, as current Women In Trucking “Driver of the Year” Peggy Arnold exemplifies. It means carrying essential goods along the highway day after day, keeping supply chains across the country running smoothly.
As we celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation week, it’s important to know that just contributing to safe driving on America’s roads can make you a hero.
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