As the Camp Fire spread in California, 93-year-old Margaret Newsum stepped out on her front porch in Magalia, hoping someone might see her. She was unable to reach her caregiver and has no family nearby, but her trash collector soon turned down her street in his new truck and saved the day.
Dane Ray Cummings, a Waste Management driver, had been alerted to the fast-moving fire by his supervisor and was told to head home, but he wanted to check up on the elderly residents on his route to see if he could help them. When he found Newsum there and learned she had no one else around to help, he broke company protocol and loaded her into his truck with assistance from people nearby. “You’re not staying here,” Cummings told her.
They carefully lifted Newsum onto the seat and secured her, being extra cautious because she’s recovering from a broken back. Both saw the five-hour drive down the hill to safety was a challenge, but they made the best of it and she told him stories about her life, including living through Pearl Harbor and being broadsided by an 18-wheeler after hand gliding at 70. The fire never reached her home, but these two formed a solid bond while he got her out of danger.