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Amanda Smith was on her Amazon delivery route in Greensboro, North Carolina, when she spotted a tire peeking out of an embankment. While she’d seen stray tires before, this one seemed different. Something told her to pull over, and thank goodness she did. 

The Amazon driver would find a flipped-over Ford sedan embedded in the tree scrub. An injured great-grandmother was inside, thought to have been trapped for hours.

Shirley Roberts had dodged a dog in the road, swerving and landing in the embankment. She suffered a broken neck, ribs, and femur. She was unable to get out.

Once Smith realized the tire was part of a bad car accident, onlookers gathered. Someone was able to climb down the steep embankment and check for occupants. They found Roberts, the retired lunch lady who was moving but not initially speaking.

First responders used Jaws of Life to get to Roberts and take her to the hospital.

A tall Amazon delivery van with California plates drives on the freeway
Sundry Photography via iStock

“It was all pretty terrifying while it was unfolding, but I just couldn’t leave until I found out she was going to be OK,” Smith told the Independent Record. Roberts reminded Smith of her own grandmother, she said.

That day, Roberts’ daughter-in-law, Eleanor, received a call from the State Highway Patrol that there had been a bad car accident. The patrol had found her number in Shirley’s phone. She and her husband rushed from out of state back home to Shirley’s side.

The State Highway Patrol later contacted Smith, who had continued on her Amazon delivery route. The family wanted to thank Smith for taking action and helping to save their beloved family member. Eleanor has remained in touch with Smith as her mother-in-law recovers.

This week, Roberts was able to take 66 steps with the help of a walker.

For me, the events are a reminder to pay attention to unusual gut checks, as someone might really need help. Some time ago, I witnessed an elderly man walking on the sidewalk suddenly trip. While he got up, I approached him and asked if he was okay. He seemed alright from a distance, but in speaking to him I quickly realized he wasn’t coherent.

My grandmother had suffered from long-term dementia, so we called 911. The confused man was taken to the hospital to be checked out. I later called reception and confirmed his family knew where he was and that he didn’t need any additional resources.

You never know what people are going through, so it never hurts to confirm the circumstances if you can stay safe yourself.