Girl Rides Horse Through Snowstorm To Bring Stranded Truck Driver Coffee and Warm Mealby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/10/2017
It’s always good to hear those stories about folks who will go the extra mile to help a truck driver. But here's a story about an 18-year-old girl who went many extra miles, through a winter storm, on her horse, to bring a stranded truck driver some morning coffee. Then she did it all again to bring him dinner later that day and she certainly didn't expect her good deed would go viral.
Truck driver, Peter Douglas, was making his way to Brandon, Manitoba from Boissevain on Monday afternoon as a major winter storm began descending on the Canadian prairies. Familiar with the terrain and keeping watch on the weather, he thought he would be able to make it to Brandon to complete his delivery job. But he underestimated the storm and by about 4 p.m., the highway through the Souris Valley was impossible to drive. "The Souris Valley was one sheet of ice and I couldn't pull the whole thing," he says. "I was trapped. With all my brakes on, I still started sliding backwards."
Douglas had no choice but to stop driving and sit stranded on the barren highway. His one saving grace was that he at least knew his truck was parked in view of one of the highway cameras. "My family, my bosses and it seems everyone on Facebook knew exactly where I was." It turned out that a complete stranger also knew where he was. Eileen Eagle Bears was keeping an eye on the traffic cams with her mom from their home located a few miles off the highway. When they spotted the lone semi-truck on the Highway 10 camera, the girl decided that if the truck was still there in the morning she'd bring the driver some coffee.
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The next morning Eagle Bears checked the cam and sure enough the truck was still there. The storm hadn’t let up but she knew her horse, Mr. Smudge, was tough enough to make the round trip. She filled a Thermos with hot coffee and they hit the trail. It would be an hour of deep snow, ice, and hilly terrain but she was determined and so was Mr. Smudge. "There was a lot of ice on the road from the rain that we had got and drifts were bad in a few places. But the morning wasn't too bad to get there and come back," she explains. Eagle Bears says when she got to the truck, the driver was still sleeping so she had to wake him up. Needless to say, Douglas was shocked to wake up and see a girl and a horse outside of his window.
"Lo and behold, first thing in the morning, I look out my window and there was a horse and a young lady by the name of Eileen Eagle Bears," Douglas explains. "She had to walk that horse half a mile up that hill and half a mile down because it was so icy. Blew me away," Douglas said. He was extremely grateful for the coffee and surprised again when Eagle Bears and Mr. Smudge came back a second time later that day with water and a big thermos of stew and potatoes. The truck driver ended up spending 28 hours stranded on the highway before he finally got towed. He says what Eagle Bears did made all the difference and it’s something he’ll never forget.
"I just did it because I wanted to help, so I just feel like I did the right thing," Eagle Bears says. "He was just really glad that someone knew that he was there and that someone cared." What Eagle Bears didn’t expect, was all the media attention she’s gotten since the story went viral. "It is overwhelming. I had gotten back and my mom had posted just a post on Facebook. And there was a few likes at the beginning, but we went back and there was just more and more, and it just totally blew up."