Generous truckers help others during blizzard

| 12/15/2010

Blizzard conditions and impassable snowdrifts may have stranded hundreds of motorists earlier this week in Ontario between London and Sarnia, but the situation brought out the best in some. Reports of Good Samaritan truckers opening their cabs and rations to others are bringing a happy ending to what could have been disastrous.

David Virgin, a driver for D&J Transportation, was among those caught in heavy snow and high winds on Monday, Dec. 13, as traffic came to a standstill on Lambton County Road 22 near the 402. He said his actions were what any trucker would do in the situation.

“There was a car behind me with a couple and a 9-month-old baby. I let them stay in my truck Monday night because they were almost out of gas,” Virgin told Land Line Now on Sirius XM.

“They were quite thankful, and they were no trouble at all. It was an easy thing to do for me.”

Virgin said in addition to helping the couple with the baby, he also assisted in getting an ambulance freed from a snow bank.

Trucker Lee Ingratta of Gravenhurst, Ontario, pulled off at an old scalehouse site on Sunday evening in anticipation of the blizzard and hazardous driving conditions. Although he didn’t get to move again until Tuesday afternoon, his spirits weren’t dampened – especially the spirit of the season.

Ingratta told Land Line Now that as a long-hauler, he’s equipped for situations that arise away from home. And he was glad to help those who were less prepared or not prepared at all.

On Monday morning, Ingratta began doling out supplies to others, mostly truckers who had also pulled off at the old scalehouse site.

“I was busy feeding everybody too, about 14 or 15 drivers. They were driving day cabs, and these guys don’t bring food with them or anything. Luckily my great wife packs great lunches for me every week – sandwiches and desserts – and that next day, I was basically feeding everybody.”

He said he saw others helping out, and friendships were formed over microwaved hamburgers and soup.

Including this week’s storm, parts of Southern Ontario have received 150 centimeters, or 60 inches, of snow during the month of December. About 300 motorists and truckers were stuck on a 50-mile stretch of Highway 402 according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

“Tuesday morning, the helicopters were all over the place … trying to find everybody who was out there,” Ingratta said. “It was unbelievable.”