One good deed leads to another 40 years later
It all began in 1977 when TJ Shaw and his mom pulled up in front of their home.
“The door across the street opened and a young woman came running out screaming, ‘Fire!’ and smoke was coming out,” recalled Shaw. “Without hesitation, my mother and I ran across the street and into the house. I couldn't get more than 10 feet in before the smoke got me and I went right back out.”
Shaw’s mom made it into the house where she found an elderly man with no use of his legs. She grabbed him by the arms and dragged him outside, saving his life. In September 2017, a good Samaritan would drag Shaw from a fiery crash on I-5 near Albany.
“I was on my way to Portland to make a delivery. I didn't feel tired at all. I dozed off for just a second,” said Shaw. “When I hit the rumble strips, I kind of came too, and all of the sudden, I saw the pillar for the overpass, directly in front of me. I didn't have a chance to hit the brakes.
“When I came to, I was sitting in the cab. The cab was basically on the ground, wheels, everything else was gone,” remembered Shaw. “I'm sitting in the cab. Door's gone, roof's gone. Fire, everything around me was on fire. I could see blood dripping from my head.
Shaw doesn’t remember much beyond that point till he woke up in the ambulance on his way to Legacy Oregon Burn Center with lacerations and burns on 26 percent of his body.
Shaw would later learn that a good Samaritan, Chuck Zeitler, had come across the scene and rushed in to help. Zeitler found Shaw on the ground and was able to pull him safely away. He visited Shaw in the hospital multiple times. The two have since become close friends.
“He’s just a really nice guy. I'm so thankful. So is my family,” said Shaw fondly. “He went above and beyond. It could have been a lot worse.”
Shaw is happy to be back home recovering in California with his family.