The Heavy Goods Hero
Simon Smith has been a truck driver for the last 27 years. He is an ex Paratrooper who joined the regiment in 1992, this is where he obtained his HGV class 2 license which has led to him at his current role at Fergusons transport based in Plymouth which is a general haulage company.
Now, the reason we are speaking to Simon is because he went above and beyond his job as a lorry driver and saved a woman who was in a dark place and decided that her only option was to jump from a 35ft bridge onto the motorway.
Before the incident occurred, Simon had just left Hounslow in London and was on his way to Erith for his next delivery point.
“On the day, traffic was quite heavy as I approached where the incident occurred and two cars in front of me but suddenly everybody came screeching to a halt as the woman jumped off the bridge right in front of me “
“Time just seem to slow down”
Simon recalls the horror unfold in front of him and claims “time just slowed down” and as the woman impacted on the floor, the car in front had two ladies inside, understandably they were hysterical because the woman fell right in front of their car.
"The guy in the car directly in front of me got out and was on the phone to the emergency services, but nobody went down to the lady.”
"I jumped out of my truck, leaving the engine running, I proceeded to put my hazard lights on and rushed down to where she was laying”
Simon admits that when he initially thought she was dead. “It's something that is going to stay in my mind for a very long time, it was horrendous”
He ran into action to do what he could once he discovered the lady was still alive
“When I approached her I was confronted with a very awful sight of the poor woman her head was oozing with blood and her teeth had been knocked out by the impact”
“Keep looking at me, you’re going to get through this”
Simon using knowledge he had obtained from his days a paratrooper, begin to do what he could to ensure the ladies survival.
"I kept telling her 'you're ok, help is on its way, stay with me, stay with me'.
“I think she may have broken her jaw in the fall, so it was difficult to understand her but I just kept on saying to her keep looking at me, you’re going to get through this”
Simon stayed with the woman, holding her hand and talking to her until the paramedics arrived and took over.
Simon returned to his lorry while a group of several paramedics surrounded the woman
"When she had been put in the back of the ambulance the police told me that she was in so much debt that she wanted to take her own life."
"I was shaking"
He said: "I was a bit distraught, it was a horrible thing to see. I don't want to see it ever again.
"I was shaking when I stepped back and was by my lorry. I was just praying for her."
Even after all this Simon carried on with his delivery to Erith, it shows he is a man who is truly dedicated to his job, most of us couldn’t carry on after that, which is a testament to his mental strength.
He claims that its “quite ironic” as he suffers with anxiety and sometimes panic attacks, who also is normally terrible with the sight of blood, but on this day, he saw a a poor woman lying there, another human in their time of need, the adrenaline rushed through his body and he knew had to do something as everybody else was still in shock and didn't rush to her aid.
Simon is urging anyone with mental health problems to seek help.
He said: "It's good to talk about how you feel, I am just hoping and praying she is ok.
Simon remains very humble after his heroic action claiming, “I just reacted to a situation and would have done what any other human being would have done” but rightly so his family are very proud of him.
Simon said “I do think there should be more support for people who don't see any other way out, than to harm themselves it's the 21st century and we shouldn't have to suffer in silence
At Avail we know that no one should have to suffer in silence if you're struggling with your mental health.
As well as turning to close friends, families, colleagues or even the friendly postman - there are plenty of charities you can talk to or get advice from.
If you are suffering from issues with your mental health, here are some useful links below:
I’m going to say it again for the people in the back - You are no less of a person because you admit to feeling down.
Please seek help, your family care, people care, we at Avail care.
Avail is a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, supporting both serving and veteran soldiers