Guilbault driver honored for saving toddler

Steve Bouchard

MONTREAL, Que. – About two years ago, Guilbault Group truck driver Gildor Fortier lived a day he will never forget.

It was the morning of April 2, 2018, and the 19-year driver from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce was driving southbound on 111 toward Temiscamingue when he came across what he thought was a cardboard box in the middle of the road. As he approached, he realized that it was actually a toddler sitting on the road.

Gildor Fortier accepts an honor from Justice Minister Sonia Lebel, accompanied by Guilbault Group CEO Eric Gignac.

“I thought it was a cardboard box because it had the color. When I got to about 150 feet, I saw a little hand and I realized it was a baby! I looked in my rearview mirror at the traffic behind and I said to myself, ‘He is going to be crushed!’

“I held my breath and applied the trailer brakes. When I managed to stop my entire vehicle, I could no longer see the little one in the front of my truck. I [climbed out of the cab] and saw that I hadn’t touched him. There was less than a meter between the front wheel and the little guy.”

The story brought tears to many eyes when it was told in Quebec’s National Assembly.

Fortier is surprised that two vehicles he encountered just before the incident did not stop to rescue the baby. In addition, a car overtook his truck as he picked up the child, brushing against the truck driver and covering an entire side of his body with bruises.

The child had managed to sneak out of the house while his parents weren’t looking.

What helped Fortier avoid the worst? “I’m not someone who drives fast. It allowed me to see what was happening,” he says.

Fortier was awarded a citizenship honor on March 9, in the presence of Justice Minister Sonia Lebel.

“I was not expecting that at all. It’s heartwarming,” said the driver, who was accompanied by Guilbault Group CEO Eric Gignac and his wife Pascale Lizotte.

“I’ve been working for them for 20 years, I wanted them to be there.”

Steve Bouchard

Steve Bouchard started writing about trucks over 20 years ago, making him by far the most experienced trucking journalist in Quebec. Steve is the editor of Quebec’s leading French-language trucking magazine, Transport Routier, published by Newcom Média Québec since its creation in 2000. He is also editor of the associated website transportroutier.ca, and a contributor to Today’s Trucking and Trucknews.com.

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  • Wow!
    So glad there was a happy ending to the story. A true hero indeed. He was the guardian angel sent to protect the child.

  • Good for him, that family owes their child’s life to him. However, it took the powers that be 2 years to officially thank him? What took so long?