A minute...maybe two to save a life
Story Hayley Leibowitz
I WAS LUCKY TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. If that was my Mum I’d hope someone would help her,” says Shannon Awatere, brushing aside any attempt to label him a hero. But boss Chris Carr is clear that if not for Shannon the situation he encountered on a Kapiti Coast street in mid-May could easily have turned into a tragedy.
“Sometimes you can be very proud of the actions of people you work with, and appalled at the actions of others,” says the Carr & Haslam director, who nominated Shannon as a CastrolTruckDriver Hero.
That day began like any other for Shannon, who had just completed a job on the Kapiti Coast and was waiting fourth in line behind other vehicles as an old lady crossed the road.
“She didn’t look well and the next thing I knew she just dropped, shopping and all,” says Shannon.
The drivers of the cars ahead simply drove around her…but Shannon ran to help: “I chucked on my hazards, jumped out the truck and pulled her to the side of the road. Something in me said ‘make sure she’s breathing.’ I put my ear next to her mouth but I couldn’t hear anything.”
Despite it being many years since he last had first-aid training, Shannon says it all came back to him and he remembered his CPR compressions: “Finally, she breathed in.”
He rolled her onto her side into the recovery position as support arrived in the form of a doctor from a nearby medical centre: “She woke up in shock. I was sweating as I went to ring for an ambulance.”
Thinking back on the situation, Shannon says: “I can’t explain the feeling when it happened. Adrenalin was rushing. I was really worried and it was such a relief when she woke up.”
The 30-year-old father of two says stopping to help the woman was “just the right thing to do.
“I didn’t know what to expect but I’m pissed off that no-one else stopped. The thing that gets to me is, when I was a kid, people would pull over if someone was in trouble. I can understand people being in their bubbles, but it takes one, maybe two minutes to check if someone is alright.”
Chris Carr is equally astounded at the indifference of others: “It’s appalling that all those people saw what he saw and drove around her. It makes you wonder about your fellow human beings.
“Shannon stopped his truck in the middle of the road to protect that woman. It’s a fantastic thing he did.”
With some eight years in the trucking industry, Shannon began his career as a mechanic but was looking for a change: “I love my company. I’m never in the same place. I love the sights and scenery and being around people.”
Carr reckons that Shannon, like “lots of truck drivers,” has a “big heart.”
And he adds: “He only mentioned this to us in passing, as he didn’t think it was anything special – but the woman is doing well thanks to his actions.”
“I’m just an ordinary person who did something extraordinary,” jokes Shannon, calling up the familiar cliché.
And after the incident? “I carried on with my day. People are relying on me to deliver my loads.”
Shannon, like each of our CastrolTruckDriverHero nominees, is recognised for his actions with a $1000 apppreciation reward, comprising $500 cash and a $500 Castrol package.
He will also automatically become a nominee in the annual Castrol TruckDriverHeroAward. T&D
Shannon Awatere reckons it was “such a relief” when the woman came around