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A Tow Truck Driver Saves a Life

When Mark Petersen arrived to jump-start a weak battery he found a AAA member on the dangerous verge of hypoglycemia.

Tow truck driver Mark Peterson’s sharp eye helped him recharge more than a weak battery last November. When he answered a call for a jump start a few blocks from Phil’s Automotive in Corning, Calif., he found a AAA member on the verge of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar—a common and potentially fatal condition for diabetics.

Q What tipped you off that something was wrong?
She greeted us at the gate and went back into her house for her card. When she got back, I noticed that she was kind of out of breath, sweating, and pale, so I asked if she wanted to sit down. She started to go into a seizure and pass out. I asked if she was diabetic; she told me that she was.

Q How did you know to ask that?
There were some diabetic kids in my school, and a guy in our shop who had a diabetic reaction, so I’ve seen it before. People get a thousand-yard stare and look like they’re going to drop.

Q What did you do?
I called the fire department. Within a minute, a truck was on the scene and they were feeding her glucose. She had gone much too long without eating.

Q Do these unexpected occurrences happen frequently?
Not too often, but I try to pay attention to stuff like that—for my safety and for everyone’s safety. You jump-start somebody, and then the next thing you know they could be riding along the wrong side of the freeway because they have low blood sugar. You always have to look and see how people are reacting. I was training one of my new drivers that day. It was his first day out and his jaw just dropped.

AAA Emergency Road Service is available every day. You don't even have to bake a pie to thank the driver, as the member did for Mark Peterson. Call (800) 222-4357.


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