Late afternoon, probably on a friday, driving from Vancouver to Guildford Shopping Center, where I had furniture store at the time. I drove a small van, bringing some urgent things to the store. Can not remember what; what I do remember is that a small pick up drove a few cars in front of me. Before the turnoff to New Westminster the pick up made some strange moves, first crossing to the right lane, as if he wanted to turn off the highway, then turning back, not really turning, more like swerving.
Swerving too much, he went into the median, and rolled over a few times. There was smoke, but no fire, yet. There was a wheelbarrow, 2×4’s, other construction material as a trail towards the pic up, now laying quietly up side down, engine running, wheels spinning, going nowhere. Smoke coming from the front.
I was the first car that managed to stop, engine running, at the bank of the median, a bad place to stop a car in the Friday rush hour, brakes and wheels were screaming.
I ran down to the pick up, not knowing what to expect. My thought, if any, was to get the people out of the car, soon to burst into flames, the heavy smell of gas, and the white smoke was a sure sign of that. The driver’s side and door was crushed, not possible to open. I grabbed a 2×4 and pried the passenger side door open.
I got hold of a pair of legs, dragged the body out, a tall man, still wearing his glasses. I checked, there were no other people in the car, I got the tall man on his feet, started to move him away from the smoking wreck, and towards my parked van. He was not cooperative, turned around a few times, and asked if I had any chewing gum. Drunk as a skunk.
I got him in my van and started driving towards the Port Mann Bridge, there was an emergency crew station, and I figured I could set him off there. I was worried about the pick up would explode, and the heavy traffic getting by the parked van, this was Friday freeway traffic.
On the way he spoke, and started pleading that I should drive him to the hotel between Guildford and Surrey. I felt sorry for the man, and took him to the hotel. He was stinking of gasoline, and bleeding from some cuts. The beerparlor was full, but we found his friends at a busy table. I asked who knew the man, who could take care of him. I was told to sit down, shut up and have a beer. I tried to explain that he had been in an accident, needed some help, and may be medical care.
The response was; shut up, sit down, have a beer. I left him standing there, they seemed to know him, nobody noticed his torned clothing, stinking of gasoline, and small bleeding cuts and bruises. The following days I looked in the newspapers to see if there was a picture of a burnt up pick up, or a story about the accident, but never saw any. He had a lucky roll, I guess.