Woman Reveals How Truckers Became Her Guardian Angels During Deadly Tornado
Birmingham, AL – An Alabama woman is crediting a group of truckers for protecting her from a violent and deadly tornado last week in Birmingham, and her story has gone viral.
It all began on Tuesday, January 26, when Mandi Johnson posted a “thank you” on Facebook to eight strangers.
“To the eight drivers who used their 18-wheelers to surround my little sister while driving home from my house this morning, THANK YOU!” she wrote.
Johnson’s younger sister, Melinda Maynard, happened to pass through Jefferson County as a dangerous EF-3 tornado ripped through the area.
“She had NO idea what was happening while driving down the interstate until they ALL surrounded her vehicle,” Johnson further explained.
The tornado was responsible for at least two deaths and dozens of injuries… many of which are critical.
Thanks to the actions of eight heroic truckers, however, Maynard was not one of them.
Johnson’s post quickly went viral, racking up tens of thousands of shares in a matter of days.
The post soon caught the eye of local morning show anchor, Rick Karle of WVTM 13.
Intrigued by the story of the eight heroic Knights of the Highway, Karle reached out to the family more, and Maynard’s story is once again garnering the attention of thousands.
“If there is any doubt that truckers … are the coolest folks going, I bring you the amazing story of Melinda Maynard of Madison, AL!” Karle wrote in another viral Facebook post.
Maynard had left Johnson’s house in Gulf Shoes, AL on Monday evening to begin the nearly 37 mile journey back home to Madison, AL.
Maynard traveled northbound on Interstate 65 and said “the rain grew heavier as the night grew longer.”
As she made her way through Birmingham, the winds continued to pick up.
Traveling in the middle lane, Maynard noted “a long line of 18-wheelers” to her right.
Suddenly, Maynard said, a big rig cut in front of her and slowed down.
Not long after, more truckers had strategically arranged their semis on both sides and behind her.
Confused and afraid, she soon saw a trucker out of the corner of her eye who was trying to get her attention.
“It’s a tornado!” the trucker yelled to Maynard. “We’re here to block you!”
Maynard sat at a standstill on I-65 near the Walker Chapel Road exit in Fultondale, surrounded by her guardian trucker angels, for over an hour as the tornado wreaked destruction all around her.
She told Karle she “cried and prayed” as she was sitting between the trucks, waiting for the storm to pass.
Thanks to eight quick-thinking highway heroes, Maynard escaped the storm unscathed and made it home to Madison — and her three children — safely.
“It was a reminder that there are kind people in the world, kind people that I needed that night,” she recalled with gratitude.