“He Fought and Scratched Around to Find a Way to Keep Me Alive. If I’d Been Alone, I’d be Dead”

On 8 September 1991, while driving on I-15, Ken Lambson, age 63, picked up a hitchhiker who saved his life. Mr. Lambson choked while eating a hamburger, and the hitchhiker attempted to clear his throat and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived and took over. Mr. Lambson said, “He fought and scratched around to find a way to keep me alive. If I’d been alone, I’d be dead.” Mr. Lambson was taken to a hospital in Provo, Utah, and one of his relatives gave the hitchhiker a lift to Salt Lake City. While Mr. Lambson, who lived in Hawthorne, California, and was on his way to a funeral in Salt Lake City, recuperated in the hospital, his wife, Jean, searched for the hitchhiker and found him. She knocked on his door and presented him with a check for $1,000. The hitchhiker was 32-year-old Jerry Tanner, an unemployed Kansas truck driver, who said, “She just about threw me into a coma. That’s three weeks’ or a month’s pay — back when I had a job.” Mr. Tanner had been driving trucks for a company in Iowa, but he quit because the company’s trucks kept breaking down. He said about his act of heroism, “I didn’t do anything that anybody else wouldn’t have done. I couldn’t just sit there and let him choke to death.”

For More Information: Associated Press, “GOOD DEED RESULTS IN $1,000 REWARD FOR HITCHHIKER WHO SAVED MOTORIST.” Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah). 17 September 1991


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