Friday, 27 May 2016
How I never became a Hero
Today I plan to tell you a true story of a heroic nature, OK I think it was heroic because I did the heroic deed. It is an event that happened many many years ago as in a seriously long time ago when I was about twenty or there about. At the time I was an Electro-Mechanical engineering apprentice, well either that or I had just finished my apprenticeship and I worked in a lab in a huge engineering business in one of those post war new towns. The fact it was a post war new town is important because this particular one had a network of cycle paths and footpaths that weaved about under the roads with nice wide sloping grass banks to keep the cars and pedestrians apart. All part of the optimistic design ideas for post war towns at the time.
Now living in this environment it was not uncommon when the weather was nice for me to walk home from work even though it was about a mile and a half. It was still quicker than driving due to volume of traffic. Well one particular summers evening as I was wandering under one of the pedestrian/ cycle underpasses which went under a dual carriageway a rather formally dressed chap in front of me who was just emerging out of the subway set off running like a bat out of hell. Not something you see every day and that’s for sure, well as I was a few feet or so behind him as I emerged to my left coming down the hill and bouncing out of control on the grass banks was a large truck with no driver. Luckily as I watched it heading towards me it ran up one of the grass banks stopped and then rolled backwards before starting to continue its trip down the hill. This gave me the opportunity to run up and leap into the cab before it gained too much speed and I was able to hit the foot brake to stop it just before it attempted to go under one of the pedestrian bridges. That was just as well as the truck cab was about three feet higher than the bridge and I might have got a bit squashed. Well as I sat there pondering where the handbrake was the driver turned up, apparently he had got out of his cab to ask directions and his truck set off without him. He was very panicked so I had to sit with him to get him back on the road and to the factory he was delivering too.
Once I got him there I then wandered back home thinking OOOOooo very heroic maybe I will be in the local paper looking heroic. . . Well about half an hour later the police turned up at the scene of the accident as it was visible from where I lived, so I went and said I had stopped the runaway truck and had taken it and the driver to a local factory, they then sped off without even asking my name, and that was that.
I never got to be a hero. . . and although it sounds a bit scary to tell the truth I did much scarier stuff when I worked offshore in the very early 1980’s when it was still a bit gung-ho.
But if that had happened today it would be all over YouTube and social-media and I would be able to look heroic and say . . . No it just all in a day’s work. Being somewhat old and knackered now I suspect I would never catch a runaway truck these days and folk would point and laugh, But I did have the satisfaction at the time to note that everyone else ran screaming and panicking and I as a stubborn rebellious bloke (always was and always will be) did not.
Now this story is entirely true in every detail it all happened as I have detailed and I never became a hero, which makes you wonder just how many folk do heroic stuff and never get any recognition for it, I bet it happens most days.