A NEW mother’s nine- hour nightmare on a gridlocked motorway was eased thanks to acts of kindness from strangers.
When a cement truck crashed into a HGV near juntion 34 of the M6 it caused a 30-mile traffic jam.
The road had to be resurfaced and was not completely open again until 8am the next day.
In the searing 30 degree heat, Shelley Ruck, her mother Denise and her eight-month-old baby, George, were stranded with only one bottle of milk remaining.
After three hours Shelley realised the situation was serious when she saw police escorting a van through the traffic handing out water to desperate drivers.
MORE TOP STORIES:
- Woman pushed down steps in 'violent assault' at Ulverston railway station
- BEHIND THE NEWS: Bright future head for Lakes tourism industry
- Health officials and paramedics announce three hour strike on Monday
- Missing Kent man could be in Cumbria
“There were people fainting, cars were running out of petrol and breaking down, there was an old lady who had to be taken away in an ambulance because of the heat and tensions among other drivers began to run high,” said Shelley. “It was really horrific. If George had woken up I would have had no milk and it would have been dire.”
The situation seemed hopeless, but then help came from above.
A group of people gathered on a motorway bridge and asked the stranded mother if she needed help.
“What happened next was the kindest thing that anyone could have done,” said Shelley.
The strangers drove for 20 minutes to the nearest shop and came back with a box of milk powder, two sterilised bottles filled with boiling water and a bottle of spring water which they lowered down from the bridge using a jerry can.
“It was absolutely unbelievable,” said Shelley.
“They saved us. My baby would have been hungry if it were not for their amazing thoughtfulness and kindness. It turned out we were stuck without moving until 11pm, sitting in darkness until we could finally move and start to make our way home (to Warrington).
“I don’t know who they were; I don’t know the exact location of the bridge but thank God they were there to help. I want to give them a massive thank you. What they did was unimaginable.
“They went to the trouble to go and get all that stuff which must have cost about £20, and they wouldn’t even take any money off me because they were concerned about the baby. Hopefully they will read this and know they were appreciated.”
Other drivers also spoke of ‘true British spirit shining through the chaos’.
Matthew Jones, 21, was stranded in the tailbacks at junction 36 near Kendal.
He saw a farmer come to a fence and help people into his field so they could relieve themselves.
Matthew, a politics student from Cheshire, said he also saw drivers of heavy goods vehicles manoeuvre their vehicles at an angle to provide much-needed shade to hot, dehydrated people stranded in the glaring sun.
“Everyone pulled together,” said Matthew. “We were all in a terrible position. I didn’t have anything to eat or drink in the car but people who did have bottles of water or food were handing them around. Nobody knew anybody else. There were strangers helping strangers in their hours of need.”
The crash happened about 2.40pm last Thursday A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: “It’s not unusual in these circumstances for the diesel and oil to damage the top layer of the carriageway and that makes it unsafe for drivers to carry on driving.
“We would like to thank drivers for their patience in what was a very long and protracted incident. We worked hard to inform people from 3pm onwards.”