A Missouri-based truck driver for Ruan Transportation has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for rescuing a small child that was found alone in a ditch in the early morning hours.
Around 4 a.m. on July 13, 2018, Mike Johnson was traveling on Highway 19 in Missouri to pick up a load in Iowa. As he approached Laddonia, Missouri, he saw something white in the ditch ahead reflecting his headlights.
As he got closer, the object popped out of a ditch, and he saw that it was a small child who was barefoot and wearing only a diaper. Johnson pulled over onto the shoulder and put on his hazard lights. The child came out of the steep ditch, holding just an orange sippy cup, and ran across the two-lane highway toward Casey’s General Store, which was not yet open.
Johnson got out of his truck and tried to carefully approach the child, but it ran back across the road and into a gravel parking lot, visibly frightened and crying. He caught up to the child and picked it up, tried to comfort it and called 911. A police officer arrived and took the child to a local hospital.
He later called City Hall and learned the child was a little boy, and officials had located his mother. Johnson, a single father of a son, said he hates to think about what could have happened to the little boy if he hadn’t seen him when he did.
“You’re always watching for deer, but that day, it just came down to seeing the movement and stopping to check it out,” Johnson said.
For his efforts to help the little boy, Johnson was presented by TCA a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals recognizing him as a Highway Angel. Ruan Transportation also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors TCA’s Highway Angel program.