Driver helps man survive heart attack

Michael Taylor, a driver for FTC Transportation Inc., of Oklahoma City, has been named a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel for helping a man survive a medical emergency.

On Dec. 21, 2008, Taylor was driving from Atlanta to Nashville and had stopped at a truck stop to get lunch. A shivering man came in to eat and warm up from the 14-degree temperature outside.

The man told Taylor he used to be a truck driver, but had left the job after having heart surgery. The man moved to another table, but soon started breathing hard and leaning over. He swallowed what was apparently a nitro-glycerin pill.

At first, the man started to relax but suddenly he clutched his chest and fell to the floor.  Taylor, who used to be assistant chief of a rescue squad, began talking to the man, patting his cheeks and searching for a pulse. There was none.

Taylor and a truck stop employee began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The man had no pulse and was not breathing, but after a minute or two of CPR, he revived momentarily. He then stopped breathing a second time, and Taylor and the employee again gave CPR and revived him.

By the time the paramedics arrived, the man was revived enough to talk.

“All of a sudden, Blanche [the employee] and the others started hugging my neck and thanking me over and over,” said Taylor. “I didn’t understand why they were thanking me. I was just doing what anybody would do. But then Blanche started crying and said to me, ‘Thank you for doing for that man what nobody could do for my own brother. He had a heart attack last year. No one was able to help him, and we lost him.’ I think I started crying right along with her at that point.”

For helping the man survive his heart attack, Taylor has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. FTC Transportation also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.