Thursday, July 28, 2016
A driver for Aylesford, Kent-based lifting equipment company Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd. came to the rescue of a 90-year-old woman and her daughter, who were stranded in a broken down vehicle in the middle lane of the M25 last week (Thursday 21 July 2016).
Luke Reade was returning to Aylesford having completed a delivery of rigging equipment to Rope and Sling’s new office (the company’s fifth) in Hayes, near Heathrow Airport. He noticed the stranded vehicle between Junctions 14 (Heathrow Airport) and 13 (Staines-upon-Thames).
Lindsey Thomas said: “I didn’t think mum was going to make it! I was taking her to visit some old family friends in Hythe. She had not been well and only the day before been to the hospital to follow up on a mini-stroke she had suffered the week before; she had been prescribed blood pressure tablets. This was her first trip out of any distance for some months.”
Reade, who had been with the company just a month, said: “The traffic was slow moving and I could see the women were in some distress so I didn’t hesitate to help. I put the beacon and hazard lights on and got us all to the safety of the hard shoulder as quickly as possible. I thought nothing of it but the lady was kind enough to send my boss an email.”
Thomas explained that she became particularly concerned after 25 minutes when she remembered from a speed awareness course, that was the average time before someone “ploughed into the back of you” if parked on the hard shoulder.
“We were tootling round the middle lane of the M25 at the usual stop-start-crawl [speed] and as I put my foot on the accelerator of my little Smart car it started to judder, cut out and wouldn’t re-start,” Thomas said.
“I was pretty frightened—let alone my mum,” she said. “Lorries were zipping past on either side. I couldn’t find my RAC card so I phoned 999 and they put me through to the Highways Agency who said they would come and rescue us. I did notice that on the gantry they put the variable speed down to 30 and alerted traffic to a ‘stranded vehicle’ but that didn’t stop people honking in annoyance like I had stopped there for pleasure!”
She said: “I was very worried. It was noon and the temperature was very high; mum was getting quite flushed. We had a small bottle of water but didn’t know how long we had to eek that out for so we were using it sparingly.
“Just then a truck pulled up in front of me. I thought it was the Highways Agency who had sub-contracted out the job. I watched as he got a rope and tried to fix it to my car. He came to my window and said I should have had a screw-in thing for towing but I couldn’t find it. I was probably a bit off to poor Luke to start with, thinking it was his job.”
Reade towed the stranded pair to the hard shoulder from where they were eventually transported home before making it to Hythe for the weekend. The car is still in for repairs.
Thomas said: “I barely had time to thank him before he whizzed off but I managed to get a photo of the back of the truck which is where I got the contact details and sent Rope and Sling an email of thanks. I don’t think I realised just what he had done out of the goodness of his heart and what danger he had put himself in until it was all over. I am so grateful.”
Steve Hutin, managing director, Rope and Sling, said: “I am very proud of Luke’s courageous actions; it demonstrates the calibre of person we are recruiting. He has only been with us about a month and I have only met him on one occasion, but I was impressed with his attitude. A measure of his character was how proactive he was when he was out of work, visiting us with his curriculum vitae.”
Hutin added: “I have always been a believer that you are constantly representing yourself during your working day. A lot of people hide behind the company badge and blame the company if things go wrong, but it’s down to the employee to do their best with any challenge they face on any given day. Luke’s recent heroism is an example to us all.”