The world isn’t as it once was. That’s always been true, but we seem to have been on a downhill slope for a bit.
Yet, good remains among us. And despite the stunning narcissism devouring society, some people are willing to risk their lives to save others.
For proof that heroes still exist, look no further than an incident earlier this month on a Canadian freeway.
Around 10 a.m. just west of Toronto, a 36-year-old driver suffered a seizure. His car having crashed, it was billowing smoke on the roadside. The commuter, evidently, had been rendered unconscious.
Commercial real estate broker Ben Sykes was traveling on Mississauga’s Queen Elizabeth Way and spotted the automobile near the offramp. One concerned citizen was already on the scene.
Ben recalls to CP24:
“I saw somebody with a car jack in their hand heading towards the vehicle quickly and then [starting] to hit the window. And so, I guess, at that minute, I sort of felt like, ‘Well, [I’ve] got to help here.’ And so I jumped out of the car and, you know, just did what I could…”
Multiple men surrounded the locked car, trying to bash the glass and wake the driver.
A dashcam caught it all. Video shows the men screaming, “Get out of the car!”
One man uses his fists on the driver-side window. Eventually, someone uses a stone.
Amid the frenzy, Ben says, another do-gooder delivered a tool:
“[T]hankfully, there was a guy in a dump truck. Whoever that was, he threw a hammer out the window and I realized, ‘Okay, [we’ve] gotta grab this thing.’
“And so I grabbed the hammer and smashed that window, and we were able to get it open. And (I’m) just thankful that the timing worked out the way it did. It was literally the nick of time.”
Ben reckons the rescue occurred half a minute before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.
The OPP Highway Safety Division has posted footage with a caption hailing the heroes.
Ben and crew liberated the driver on Independence Day:
A 36-year-old man from Toronto who experienced a medical episode is alive because of the heroic efforts of five men who risked their lives as the vehicle began to burn with the driver still inside. They got the driver’s door open to save the driver. You are my #HERO. July 4, ’22
A 36 year old man from Toronto who experienced a medical episode is alive because of the heroic efforts of five men who risked their lives as the vehicle began to burn with the driver still inside. They got the drivers door open to save the driver. You are my #HERO. July 4, ’22 pic.twitter.com/bwE43tMhn1
— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) July 7, 2022
Per police, the victim incurred no injuries. Ben has since spoken to him:
“He obviously is thankful. I’m sure it’s all settling in for him. It’s emotional. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for me this week. I’m sure it’s been the same thing for him. So, thankfully he’s in good shape, and we all walked away.”
Ben explains it was “fight or flight.” Furthermore, he’s not so special:
“I think there’s a lot of people out there that would do the same thing if they got into that situation. And all we can do is try and help other people, and the world’s a good place despite all the stuff that’s going on right now.”
In dark times, there are indeed glimmers of hope. Just weeks ago, a 22-year-old visiting an Indiana Mall with his girlfriend spotted a mass shooter about to begin his spree. Elisjsha Dicken engaged the criminal while yelling for others to fall back behind him.
As for flaming vehicles, we’ve observed other incidents where strangers have risked being burned.
Last September, a crew of men from San Diego’s East County Transitional Living Center saved an elderly Phoenix couple (watch that amazing story here).
A year earlier, a Marine rescued a baby from an automotive inferno near Camp Pendleton:
Back to Canada’s roadside rescuers, Mississauga Fire Captain Chris Ogg tells Global News, “A vehicle fire is probably close to 1,000 degrees. They got to him just in time. … Tremendous act of heroism. I’ve never seen anything like it in my 28 years as a firefighter.”
For their bravery, Ben and the others have been recommended for the Fire Chief Commendation Award.
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