BLENHEIM, Ont. - A pet peeve among truckers is that so many of the stories people tell about the industry are negative.Well, at least one Blenheim, Ont. trucker as a positive story to tell...It was Ju...
BLENHEIM, Ont. – A pet peeve among truckers is that so many of the stories people tell about the industry are negative.
Well, at least one Blenheim, Ont. trucker as a positive story to tell…
It was July 1, and Ken Byers, a driver for Carey Leasing, was travelling eastbound on Hwy. 401 en route to Milton, Ont., to drop off a load, at 10:30 p.m., when he spotted a passenger car engulfed in smoke, and what he thought were flames.
Not long before Byers passed by, sisters Kita and Sokhanny Chea had pulled off to the side of the highway with car trouble and immediately began to panic.
“We immediately felt stranded even though we had a cellular phone, our closest friends or family were in Windsor, we lived in North York and we were stuck on the side of the road near Kitchener,” said Kita Chea.
Within minutes of the Chea sisters pulling over, Byers pulled up in front of them to see if he could help.
“After I stopped, I realized it was two girls and they were pretty upset. So I just told them I wasn’t there to hurt them, I wanted to see if I could help and that if they felt safer, they could sit in the car and lock the doors while I tried to get their car running for them. We chatted a little bit and I think they started to feel a little better knowing that my intentions were kind,” said Byers.
After several attempts to get the car going, Byers concluded it wasn’t going to start on the side of the road. A fire truck pulled up behind them and suggested they call a tow truck and cab to get home.
“We were terrified really, we knew that home was over an hour away and it was getting late at this point,” said Sokhanny Chea. “Without thinking twice, Ken offered to make sure we got home safely.”
Byers helped get their luggage out of the car, drove the girls home to North York and dropped them off at their doorstep.
“Once you stop to help someone, you are kind of committed to them. You become accountable for the people who you stop to help. I told the girls I wasn’t going to drop them off at a truck stop or leave them there to get a cab, I was going to drive them home and they were very thankful for that,” said Byers.
Kita and Sokhanny said Byers’ generosity and kindheartedness has given them a better outlook on life and the ability to appreciate kindness and empathy in people – even total strangers.
“He had clearly gone out of his way to help us. He even gave us some drinks that were clearly part of his own meal, and told us some stories of his family and grandchildren. He is truly one of the nicest men that we have ever met,” said Kita Chea.
But the Chea sisters’ appreciation didn’t end there. Kita and Sokhanny decided to write a letter about their experience to Carey Leasing – the company Byers works for.
“We were so pleased and very proud when we got the letter, Ken is a very dependable and easy-going guy, if we give him something, we never have to worry, it always gets done and gets done well,” said Mike Adams, operations manager for Carey Leasing.
Adams and the Carey Leasing staff framed the letter from the Cheas and presented it to Byers along with a gift certificate to a local restaurant so he could take his wife out to dinner.
“We felt this went above and beyond what our drivers are expected to do and it was his kindness and caring personality that did it, and that should be recognized,” said Adams.
“We also think that these types of stories are a good way to shine a positive light on the trucking industry. There are these happy stories out there, but everything always seems to deal with the negatives, so this was a nice upbeat story and that is important to get out there.”
Byers has been driving for 38 years, and he said this is not the first time he has stopped to help people out.
“I’ve stopped many times before, but I must say, this is the first time that someone has gone one step further and thanked my company. Nobody has ever written a letter like that, I didn’t even know what to say, I was flabbergasted,” said Byers.
He said many of his fellow drivers on the road would like to stop and help wherever they can, but people are afraid to stop nowadays.
“So many people don’t want to get involved anymore, you take a big risk when you stop to help someone, you have to be very careful, because it could backfire on you, but that won’t stop me from helping out,” said Byers.
“I’m proud of what I did, I feel it was the right thing to do, and I will do it again.”