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2 Guelph, Ont., courier drivers save man walking on Highway 407 in ‘incredible act of heroism’

Two Purolator truck drivers from Guelph, Ont., are being recognized by provincial police for “an incredible act of heroism” after they saved a man in distress on a highway.

Melinda Olah and Manohar Rehal saw the man walking in traffic lanes on Highway 407 by the Highway 410 on ramp near Brampton last month. 

Olah said she drives on Highway 407 daily, completing three trips to Toronto and back. On April 29, she was finishing her day, heading back to Guelph, when she spotted a person in the middle of the road.

“I veered to miss him but it’s not something that you expect to see,” Olah told CBC News in an interview.

She said she pulled over and tried to call out to the man. 

“‘Hey, man, what’s going on? Are you OK? Why don’t you come off the highway?'” she said. “I mean, he was on a four-lane highway. He was walking right smack in the middle of it, so definitely not a normal thing to do.”

There was definitely traffic coming, and passing and nearly hitting him.– Melinda Olah, Purolator driver

Olah didn’t receive a response from the man, so called Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who told her they were already notified about the incident and were on their way.

“There wasn’t a lot of traffic, but there was definitely traffic coming, and passing and nearly hitting him,” Olah said. “You couldn’t see him. It was dark.”

Olah said she pulled out onto the highway with the hazard lights on her truck flashing and drove behind the man.

“I’m driving a transport truck with a full-size trailer. So, with my lights flashing, I can make a bigger scene, at least try to protect him from getting hit, and try and protect other drivers from hitting him and having to go through that trauma.”

Melinda Olah
Olah says she drives on Highway 407 daily, completing three trips to Toronto and back to Guelph. (Submitted by Alana Reich)

Olah was continuing behind the man for about 20 minutes when she observed another transport truck behind them with hazard lights on as well.

“It happened to be Manohar,” she said.

Olah explained what was happening and asked her fellow Purolator driver to help her block the lanes.

“[Melinda] pointed … to the guy … ‘We are going to like help this guy out, can you please help me? We can block two lanes until the cops come,'” Rehal told CBC News.

“[I said], ‘Yeah, for sure.’ And I was there for like another 10 to 15 minutes until the cops came.”

WATCH | YouTube video of the truckers driving slowly behind the person on the highway:

‘Courage and selflessness in the face of danger’

On May 1, Staff Sgt. Nathan Majer of the OPP’s highway safety division sent a letter to Purolator that said they wanted to express “heartfelt gratitude and admiration” for Olah and Rehal, who “became engaged in an incredible act of heroism.” 

“As a result of their decisive actions, two lanes of live traffic were blocked, protecting the citizen in distress awaiting police arrival,” the letter said. 

“Their quick thinking and selflessness undoubtedly saved the person’s life, enhanced officer safety and prevented a potential tragedy from unfolding,” it said.

“Their courage and selflessness in the face of danger truly exemplifies the values of Melinda and Manohar. Their actions went well above and beyond their duty as courier drivers, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the well-being of others and public safety.”

Manohar Rehal
Rehal says his parents were proud he received a letter from OPP recognizing his efforts in saving the man. (Submitted by Alana Reich)

Olah said she was “definitely very overwhelmed” with the amount of gratitude coming their way, especially from the OPP. 

“I hope that more people will try to help each other out. I mean, after all, we are all in this rat race together, regardless what the profession, or where we’re going or what we’re doing. And I think as a society, we would be much better off if we all just helped each other out a little bit more.”

Rehal said he showed the OPP’s letter to his parents and  “they felt proud.”

“If anything happens, like in the future, I’m always going to help if I can,” he said.


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