Phil Frazier and his wife were driving down a dark and rainy road in Central Washington recently when they saw another car lose control and tumble off the roadway in a cloud of dust.
There were other drivers nearby. It's a well-traveled interstate. What would you do? Someone will call 911... I don't want to interfere with the police or fire who will arriving soon... I'm already late...
I know I've been guilty.
Not Phil. He's the guy who pulls over and gives a ride to the family with a flat tire. He's the one who ties a sturdy cable to your car to haul you out of that snowbank you got stuck in. And on this night, he instinctively pulled over, and went to hop one of those waist-high concrete highway barriers thinking there was a median on the other side.
There wasn't. Phil had pulled over on a bridge.
Hi wife Wendy was still in the car. Where the hell is Phil? After an hour she was pretty damn frantic.
A dispatcher, recalling a similar incident years earlier, sent a police officer to check under the bridge. There was Phil more than 30 feet down in the ditch, freezing, wet, with a shattered pelvis, broken wrist, a bunch of broken ribs, and broken vertebrae.
"No regrets," he told me when I asked if he wishes he never pulled over to help.
"I've always been that person and I will always be that person," he said.
Phil's a self-admitted simple guy. A carpenter. Doesn't have health insurance. Does have a wife and kid to support, and now he could spend the next 4-6 months in a hospital. God forbid he ends up in a wheelchair.
At the end of the interview I went to gingerly remove the tiny microphone I clipped to Phil's bed sheet near his face. I could tell he was in a lot of pain, but he reached out and gave me a firm handshake. I was taken aback by his strength.