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Damsel in Distress

A tow truck driver for AAA encounters a woman about to have a baby.

Mike Galea has been a tow truck driver with Fortes Automotive Repair in Mountain View, Calif., for 18 years. His first customer one April day in 2009 hadn’t even called for assistance—she was standing on the side of the road by her parked car. It was barely 6 a.m., and Galea pulled over to ask if she needed help.

Q When you got out of the truck, what did she say to you?
A She kept saying, “My daughter is having a baby,” over and over. Then she pointed at the car. I looked in the window and saw someone on the floor, hunched over between the backseat and the front. Then I understood what was happening.

I helped the young woman out of the car and laid her gently on the sidewalk. That’s when I saw that the baby was already halfway out. I asked the soon-to-be-grandmother if she had called 911; she said she had, but nobody had arrived.

Q What went through your mind at that point?
That I was going to have to deliver this baby. I ran to my truck and grabbed a towel to wrap the baby in. It wasn’t a great situation, but at least we’d be on the sidewalk with a clean towel.

By the time I got back, the fire truck had pulled up. I told one of the guys that the baby was halfway out, and he said they’d take it from there. I didn’t want to get in the way, so I hopped in my truck and left. I never even got her name.

Q I’m guessing this isn’t what you signed up for when you started driving a tow truck.
I like to help people—that’s why I took this job. And no, I didn’t quite expect it to be like that, but it’s all part of the gig. Afterward, everyone took to calling me Dr. G.


This article was first published in March 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.