Worker’s calm and compassion makes impact on driver
By Mike Allende
It seemed like a routine day for Trent Galusha. Patrolling northbound I-5 in his Incident Response Team truck late afternoon on Wednesday, March 16, he came across a vehicle stalled in the middle of the highway at 41st Street in Everett.
But for the driver, Stephanie Black, it was anything but routine.
In January, Stephanie was involved in a serious collision with an impaired driver that left her vehicle totaled and her nerves on edge whenever she's back in traffic. So stalling out in the middle of a busy freeway during rush hour? That's a nightmare.
Lucky for Stephanie, Trent arrived just in time.
"He literally saved my life," she said.
Trent, an 8-year veteran of our IRT, activated his flashing lights and helped Stephanie get her vehicle to the shoulder and he then checked to make sure she was OK.
"She was hysterical, sobbing," he said. "She said she couldn't speak, she just really wanted to get home. I asked if she needed medical help and she said no, she just had stress-related problems with traffic. I reassured her that she'd be OK, that I would sit with her until we got her helped and she just grabbed ahold of me."
In fact, that day was the first time Stephanie had been back on a major highway since her collision.
"If it wasn't for his calm aid in helping me beyond the scope of his employment, I'm not exactly sure I would've been able to navigate the situation," she said. "The compassion and empathy he showed me was amazing."
After about 15 minutes, Stephanie calmed down to the point where Trent felt OK assessing the vehicle. He called her insurance company but found that her tow only covered about 15 miles, not far enough to get her home. The vehicle had a problem with the alternator, but Trent felt if it could just get a new battery, Stephanie could at least get home. He charged the vehicle and guided her to the nearest service station, ensuring Stephanie was able to make it home.
|IRT’s Trent Galusha’s calm and compassion helped a distraught driver get through a scary situation on I-5 in Everett.|
"Any of us in IRT would've done the same thing," Trent said. "I just think about what if this was my parents or my wife or my kids? Every one of us on the team does this every day. We know we're ambassadors out here, and we want to treat people right and help them any way we can."
We often refer to our IRT as our super heroes and this is a perfect example why. For them, they're just doing their job. Changing a tire. Giving a car a jump. Or just being a calming voice. But for the person they're helping, they can be so much more. And that's why we're so proud to have them in our agency.
"I cannot express how grateful I truly am for his assistance," Stephanie said. "He truly went above and beyond for me. I was terrified to be left alone and he said that wouldn't happen. What an amazing employee."