Alexandria, Virginia

Professional truck drivers see a lot of interesting things on the road. Take, for example, Shelly York of North Little Rock, Arkansas, who drives for ABF Freight System, Inc., of Fort Smith, Arkansas. When he came across an unusual situation involving a young boy, his response was brought to the attention of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

On April 5, 2013, at about 4 p.m., York was driving northbound on Smokey Lane near the ABF terminal in North Little Rock. Ahead, he saw something that looked like debris fall out of the back of a pickup truck. However, as he got closer, he recalls his shock as he “looked over and said to myself, ‘That’s a kid!’”

Apparently, the 8- or 9-year-old boy had run behind the pickup and attempted to hoist himself onto it. He was unable to hold on and fell off, striking his head and back on the asphalt. He now lay on the road, twisted in pain. Because of the way he was positioned, the child looked more like an inanimate object than a human being, so York feared that oncoming traffic might unknowingly hit him.

York immediately put on his flashers and used his truck to protect the boy from oncoming vehicles. He then went to the other lane of traffic and rerouted vehicles away from the area. He remained on the scene until emergency responders arrived and took over.

“In the past, I’ve helped folks who have had car trouble, but I’ve never had anything like this!” says York, who has been driving for about 40 years.

For stopping to help the child, York has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. ABF Freight System, Inc., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.