Two AAA service providers were recently awarded top honors for rescuing a Florida couple who was trapped in their RV after it nearly slid off an icy mountain road in Todd, North Carolina.
Earlier this year, Wayne and Shirley Ann May took their first trip as a married couple. They were driving their RV through Blowing Rock and Boone to a campground atop a mountain in Todd, when they encountered strong winds and freezing temperatures.
“We didn’t realize the road was frozen solid. It was a sheet of ice,” said Wayne May.
Driving uphill, with a cliff on one side and an embankment on the other, the May’s RV hit a patch of ice and slid backwards nearly 80 feet.
“I was petrified. All my worst nightmares were coming true,” said Shirley Ann May.
The RV slid into the embankment and became stuck, with their doors lodged shut. Trapped inside, their only alternative was to call for help. May tried several towing companies and even 911, but because of the treacherous weather conditions, none would come until the morning. With more than 6 hours until sunrise, the Mays feared for the worst.
“At this point, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and we have a half tank of gas,” Wayne said. “With 50 knot winds, and 16 degrees out, if we run out of fuel, we’re gonna freeze,” Wayne said.
When Wayne remembered he had AAA, he called The Auto Club Group for help. AAA operator Kelvin Rivers, stationed in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; also had difficulty finding someone who could brave the elements, but he didn’t give up.
“Without Kelvin, none of this would be possible,” Wayne said.
After several hours of searching, Rivers found Jason Miller – the only service technician in town who was able to help.
“The roads were pretty treacherous, but I didn’t want to leave anyone stranded. So I was going to try to make it happen,” said Jason Miller, an AAA service provider with Hampton’s Body Shop in Boone, North Carolina.
“When we saw those headlights, that was honestly the first time I was able to take a deep breath,” Shirley Ann said.
The Mays were delighted to see Jason, but there was still a long road to safety. Miller was able to free the RV. But because the road was too narrow to turn around, Wayne May had to slowly and carefully back the large vehicle downhill – for more than a mile – in reverse.
“The road was like a snake,” Wayne said. “As we were going back down, we were sliding again. I was scared! I wasn’t going to let her know I was scared as bad as I was.”
Jason slowly led the way with his flood lights on. After some very tense moments, Miller and the Mays made it to safety. They thanked Jason and immediately made their way back to Florida.
“Nobody else would help us; but AAA did,” said Wayne. “They got us out of there. They didn’t tell us they can’t come up there, ‘we’ll see you tomorrow’. That meant the world to us.”
Kelvin Rivers and Jason Miller were recently awarded and were recognized for their roles in saving the Mays. AAA presented both Kelvin Rivers and Jason Miller with the Hero Award. They also each received a $500 gift card.
“We are relentless when it comes to rescuing and caring for our AAA members,” said Scott VerBracken, Vice President, Automotive Services, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’re so grateful for the bravery and perseverance of people like Jason Miller and Kelvin Rivers, who help AAA deliver on our promise to be there when our members need us most.”
Check out the story on WCNC here