Truckers Share Supplies With Fellow Drivers Stranded on I-95 in Virginia
When snowy weather stranded hundreds of drivers on I-95 in northern Virginia for as many as 24 hours earlier this week, it was truckers who came to the rescue.
As motorists ran out of fuel, water, and food, truck drivers tapped into their personal supplies—and in some cases, their cargo—to help those around them through the "unprecedented" crisis.
"Us as truckers, we have the resources. We have water, we have food," Richmond-based long-haul trucker Jean-Carlo Gachet told ABC News.
Gachet, whose big rig is outfitted with a microwave, made headlines for sharing a hot meal with the mother and son in the car ahead of him.
"Just knowing I could step out and lend someone a hand meant a lot to me," he told ABC News.
A truck driver named Matthew Marchand told Insider that he shared some of his supplies with nearby drivers. He said in all his years on the road, he'd never seen people stranded without supplies for so long on a snowed-in highway.
"Roads do close. I drive in northern Canada, and roads do get closed for one or two days. But people are prepared for it because they know what the reality is," Marchand told the outlet. "No one driving on I-95 is ever thinking that I-95 is going to shut down for in excess of 14 or 15 hours."
Nearby, Casey Holihan and her husband, John Noe, were about 16 hours into the ordeal when they had an idea. The couple told The Washington Post that it had been approximately 37 hours since they had last eaten when they spotted a Schmidt Baking Company truck just a few cars ahead of them.
"We were starving," Holihan told the Post. "People around us were very much struggling as well. We could hear kids crying."
So, they took a risk and called the number on the back of the truck and left their phone number with a representative. Just 20 minutes later, Chuck Paterakis, one of the owners of the baking company, called them back.
Paterakis told them to go to the truck so he could speak to the driver. He instructed the driver to offer up one package of rolls and one loaf of bread to any person who wanted them.
"It was an easy decision," Paterakis told the Post. If he had been stuck out there on the road with no food, he added, "I would want someone to offer their products."
Noe shared their experience in a now-viral Facebook post.
"This was one of the kindest moments I have ever witnessed," he wrote.
Fortunately, there were no reported deaths or injuries caused by the standstill. Virginia Department of Transportation had the situation cleared up by Tuesday night.
Marvin Romero, who was driving home from a family vacation in South Florida with his two daughters, spent 20 hours in the car.
"To me, I see it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he told NPR. "How many people can actually say that they stepped on I-95, or they slept on I-95? It's hopefully a story that I can tell my grandkids one day."