The kindness of strangers: Pulling young children out of van crushed in windstorm
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CBC Radio One's The Early Edition is asking listeners to share their stories of kindness from strangers for a series that runs on Thursday mornings.
This week's story took place nearly four years ago on the North Shore when Grant Chang was driving with his children on a particularly windy day.
I never got your names or had a chance to say thank you.
We met in the middle of a windstorm at the end of August 2015, when I was driving home after a day on the North Shore with my children.
It was incredibly windy — the sidewalks and curb lanes along our route home were closed because of fallen trees and tree branches were flying around.
I was driving really slowly because we had just replaced the windscreen on our van and I was worried about getting another crack in it.
Just as we were getting on to the highway ramp, I heard a loud bang.
At first, I thought maybe someone had rear-ended us, because we were driving so slowly. I got out of the van — but there was no one behind us.
Instead, there was a giant tree sitting on the roof of the van.
I could hear the kids crying, but when I tried to get to them the door wouldn't open, because the van's frame was so badly bent.
A police cruiser was passing nearby and stopped, blocking the road behind us to prevent any cars from hitting us. The police officer called for help.
I continued to try to get to my children.
I don't usually panic but I was almost in tears that day. All of a sudden, you two appeared out of nowhere and asked what was happening.
One of you, the guy — I could tell you worked out, your arms were probably double the size of mine. You pulled on the door a few times and managed to open it enough to squeeze the kids out.
My four-year-old was closest to the door, and you handed him to me.
He was just standing there crying, not answering if he was OK, as I checked him all over. It was terrifying, the scariest moment of my life.
You pulled out my one-year-old and helped my six-year-old escape his booster seat. While I checked the children one by one, you and the woman you were with — I assumed your girlfriend — looked after the others and calmed them down.
An ambulance showed up and, too late, I realized you'd disappeared. The two of you did everything like pros and then walked away.
Even though it's almost four years later, it still bothers me that I never got your names or expressed my gratitude for your kindness. So if you read this: Thank you.
If you have a story about the kindness of strangers, e-mail The Early Edition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With files from The Early Edition