No wonder they’re called stars

MIRAMICHI, N.B. — Highland Transport Driver Terry Smith – recognized in 2006 as Canada’s highwaySTAR of the year -proved recently that the chivalry for which truck drivers have been known throughout the ages is nowhere near dead.

It’s alive and double-clutching.

On July 21, a 74-year-old Hammond, Me., woman named Joyce Goodwin was trying to drive to her daughter’s house in Bangor and lost her way.

It was late, it was dark, and, she reported afterwards, she was “confused and scared.”

“I knew I was vulnerable,” she recalled. “I drove around and around for over an hour getting more lost and upset by the minute.

Finally, she stopped across the road from a truck stop and broke down sobbing.

Smith, a Miramichi-based owner-operator, was just about to pull out on to the highway but stopped near the cardlock to clean his windows.

“If it had not been for this,” he said later, “Joyce and I would never have crossed paths.”

“I looked across the street and saw an elderly lady trying to flag down the oncoming traffic,” Smith said.

“This is a very busy street. Nobody was stopping for her, and my immediate thoughts were that this lady is going to get run over by a speeding car. I then said to myself that I have to go help her.”

Terry Smith: “Proud to help somebody who thought so highly of truckers.”

“I approached her and said ‘My name is Terry Smith, I am from Canada, I am driving that big truck parked across the street.’ She then gave me a big hug and said ‘My name is Joyce and I am lost.'”

He instructed her to sit in her own passenger seat until he could go park his truck in a safe place. Smith then returned, got into Goodwin’s driver’s seat and took the car across the highway to Dysart’s.

First they phoned her home. There was no answer. Then they called the police. A cruiser showed up in about 20 minutes. They called home again, and the husband picked up the receiver. Shortly afterwards her husband arrived in his car, she calmed down, returned to her own vehicle and followed her husband home.

Several times during the wait, Goodwin suggested that she must have been delaying Smith, but he insisted on staying until the crisis passed and she was on her way home.

“You told me” she said in a thank-you letter to Smith afterwards, “stories of your wife and of Canada. You even made me smile!

“I will never forget your kindness and the relief I felt when I knew I was safe with you,” she said. “My husband always told me that if I was in trouble I could trust a truck driver.”

Recalled Smith: “It made me very proud to have helped someone in distress who thought so highly of truckers.”

Now, coincidentally, the search for the 2008 highwaySTAR of the year is under way.

Newcom Business Media, publisher of highwaySTAR and Today’s Trucking magazines, regularly recognizes a driver who embodies the term professional.

The winner receives fabulous prizes, including $10,000 in cash; an Espar heating system; a road-ready trucker friendly laptop from the Owner-Operators’ Business Association, a special-edition leather highwaySTAR jacket with the winner’s name on it, and travel and accommodation for two to Toronto for the Truck World 2008, in April.

Furthermore, if you nominate the winner, you win $250 in cash. Deadline for entries is Mar. 1, 2008. For more information, write “highwaySTAR of the Year” 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, ON, M9W 5C4, or click on the website below.

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