TCA names N. Yanke Transfer driver a Highway Angel

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The Truckload Carriers Association has named Gyslain “Juice” Lemelin, a professional truck driver for N. Yanke Transfer of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as its latest Highway Angel. On Oct. 23 at about 9:15 a.m., Lemelin was heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway outside of Virden, Manitoba, Canada, when he was passed by two people in a pickup truck. Accompanied by their two dogs, the couple was on their way home from a wedding and were towing a camper filled with belongings.

As they passed by, Lemelin smelled a burning chemical-like odor coming from the pickup. Just moments later, he saw a puff of white smoke in the distance and knew the motorists were in trouble. “I had a feeling they weren’t going to get very far,” says Lemelin, who has had training as a mechanic. “I’ve smelled that smell before. I knew it was the transmission – transmission fluid is highly flammable.”

By the time Lemelin pulled up at the scene, flames already had spread all over the pickup’s hood, the battery was melting, and the ground underneath the vehicle was on fire. Had another few minutes gone by, the engine likely would have exploded, and the couple could have lost the contents of their truck and trailer, or worse. Lemelin used his fire extinguisher to put out the flames while the motorists frantically removed their dogs and valuables from the vehicle. When the fire was out, he allowed the couple to use his cell phone to call for assistance.

The grateful motorists later wrote a complimentary e-mail to N. Yanke Transfer praising Lemelin for his quick actions. “Please tell [Lemelin] that random acts of kindness don’t go without notice, and we are both grateful that he didn’t just drive on by like everyone else,” they said.