Chapter 11: Unexpected ” hero “?

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What a week people, what a week. Santana is joining me in the truck for 2,5 weeks and it started off pretty crazy. It all started last Thursday evening with a beautiful trip to France. We left around 7.30 pm, after picking up a pre-loaded trailer and arrived at our first 4 customers in Paris ( they’re all in the same building ). After unloading them we went to the next one 10 km further. After that it was 780 kilometer to our next stop: Marseille. Because we drove all night we had to sleep during the day. Which wasn’t easy with a cabin temperature of 29+ degrees Celsius and an air conditioning that couldn’t work longer dan 2,5 hours. After that the battery voltage was to low and we had to keep the truck running for a while. 


When our break was over, we left around midnight for the left over 3,5 hour trip to Marseille where we arrived around 3.30 am Saturday morning. Customer started at 4 am so we could get some extra sleep which we gratefully took. After unloading that customer we were empty and drove towards Albenga in Italy where we could load plants for Holland in the evening. 


It was a beautiful trip along the French and Italian coastline and because sun was already coming up a bit, we had a lovely view to look at. When I was getting tired halfway, we stopped for an hour of sleep and after that we did the last part, arriving around 9 am Saturday morning. Time to close the curtains again and wait till we were getting a phone call that we could start loading. 


Unfortunately that was later then expected. Instead of the expected 7 or 8 pm it wasn’t until 10.45 pm that we could start loading. Luckily this all went very fast and within the hour we were heading towards Holland.  Now this isn’t just as easy as with a normal car. You have to realize that trucks aren’t allowed to drive on Sunday in countries like Switzerland and Germany ( unless you have fresh food with you, those kind of loads have clearance ). 


So we were forced to take another route thru the Frejus tunnel ( more then 12 km long ) and then thru France, Luxembourg and Belgium. When we arrived at the Frejus tunnel around 3.15 am it was closed till 4 am due maintenance. Great chance to make a 45 minute break. When that was done we kept on driving till there were no more driving hours left and stranded somewhere near Dijon. 


I decided to take an 11 hour break so we started driving again Sunday evening at 9.30 pm, arriving at our customer in holland Monday morning at 6 am. We slept another 3 hours and then started unloading the two customers which were in the same street. Then we went back to bed till 2.30 pm and started working again at 3 pm. We loaded some chicken and then drove towards our company. When we were almost there, it was around 6.45 pm, something strange happened. It’s a pretty big highway ( 4 lanes ). We were driving on the most right lane. And all of a sudden a grey van, that was driving on the most left lane, went full speed to the right, crossing 4 lanes ( without hitting anyone else ), then drove over the emergency lane, thru some bushes and ended up in the water next to the highway creating a wave that was 3 or 4 meters high. I didn’t hesitate and immediately parked the truck on the emergency lane. We were the first ones on the scene ( later we realized that we were the only ones that stopped ) and while I ran towards the van, Santana called the emergency services. 

 

When I arrived at the van it was laying in the creek as you can see in the picture above. Smoke was coming from under the hood and there was no sign of life at first sight. I opened the passenger door and saw one person in the van. He was snoring while his head was tilted back. I started yelling at him, trying to wake him up. Hit mouth and face was covered in blood. After yelling for like 5 minutes he started choking in his own blood, which woke him up. I started talking to him again and he slowly started noticing me. In the meantime I turned the engine off and tried make contact with him. Holding the door open with my right foot I reached in and unbuckled his seatbelt. I tried to win his trust ( he was very disorientated ) and reached out me hand to him. Luckily he grabbed it at one moment and while holding my hand he climbed out of the van. 


He still was very disorientated and started walking in different directions. Sometimes I called him back, other times I really had to stop him and keep talking to him. Otherwise would’ve walked straight on to the highway where people were still driving full speed ( we were still the only ones at the scene, Santana was waiting in the truck ). When I saw blue flashing lights in the distance I started walking towards the emergency lane to get their attention. And while the fire truck drove past us, a police car noticed us at the last second and stopped. 


They checked if there were other people in the van ( which wasn’t the case ) and started talking with me and driver. He was still very confused and even said that he wasn’t the driver but I was. Also other questions from the police were answered very confused so the ambulance took him to the hospital for further inspection. After the police took my statement of what happened and wrote down my personal information we were allowed to continue our trip. 

All and all a very strange, scary and adrenaline pushing situation. Hope the rest of our 2,5 week together goes a bit more relaxed then this. Happy that the driver is still alive though. Could have ended up way worse. 

Talk to you guys soon ❤

from https://harmenjp.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/chapter-11-unexpected-hero

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