Trucker Tragedy Has Happy Ending, All Thanks to Truck Stop Staff

by Katy de Vries

CARDINAL, Ont. – Truck stops play an important role in the lives of truckers; they’re a place to eat, sleep and converse with old friends.

On his way home from Montreal on the evening of June 9, Henderson stopped in to take a break from the road and to nurse a headache he’d been suffering from for three days.

Henderson realized he needed help from the lady behind the counter, who, unbeknownst to him, would later be instrumental in saving his life.

Brenda Douglas, the 730 store supervisor, was working the evening Henderson came in and mentioned his ailment.

“He said he had had a headache for three days and didn’t know if he would make it to his doctor’s appointment two days later,” said Douglas.

Douglas noticed Henderson looked disoriented and seemed unsteady on his feet. When she took his arm to steady him she also noticed he was very warm.

“So after sitting him down I went to get some Tylenol and a glass of water, which he had asked for, but when I got back to him I knew this was a bigger problem, so I immediately called the ambulance,” said Douglas.

Four days prior, Henderson bumped his head on the underside of his new trailer while performing his regular pre-trip inspection.

“The headache gradually became worse and worse but headaches aren’t totally unknown to drivers because of the various night driving or light stresses on your vision, so you take an aspirin and carry on,” Henderson later explained. “However, it became obvious it was more than that, that night at the truck stop.”

It turned out Henderson was suffering from a brain hemorrhage due to the acute blow to his head. His surgeon at the Kingston General Hospital said had Douglas not acted as quickly as she did, he may not have survived.

“My fiance and I are just so grateful to the staff who were there that night and also to the manager who allows his staff the freedom to help patrons out the way they did,” said Henderson. “They went above and beyond what was expected of them in a situation like that.”

After calling the ambulance Douglas made sure to call Henderson’s fiance. She also looked after locking up his personal belongings in his truck and turning off his lights. She even offered to have someone drive his truck back home for him.

Henderson, for his part, spent almost a month in the hospital recovering from his emergency surgery, and when he was discharged, he went directly back to the 730 Truck Stop to say “Thank you.”

He said he was humbled by all the care and help he received.

“I couldn’t sleep the night it happened, I was so worried about him and when he walked in here again it was so nice to see him. It’s just a wonderful feeling, I can’t describe it,” said Douglas.

Henderson’s surgeon has described his recovery as rapid, and has given a good prognosis, but said he will still need to take it easy and relax for another month or so.

But the truck driver is looking forward to getting back to his day-to-day work and life, he said.

After his doctors tell him everything is OK, he hopes to return to work, if not as driver, perhaps in some capacity in safety and compliance.

“I’m getting married in August, and my next appointment with my surgeon is two days after the wedding so I guess we’ll be honeymooning in the Kingston area,” laughed Henderson.

So often life’s negatives come to the forefront, said Henderson, but the nice things that people do are well worth attention and praise.

“We see so much turmoil and angst, it is nice to see the other side of humanity sometimes,” he said.

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