Matty Lovo is only nine years old, but the story of his level-headed daring deserves to be told. In the telling of his story, there is a line from the hero himself that should make all of us who are parents and grandparents take notice.
Matty’s father drives one of those huge big-rig trucks that is part of American commerce. Last week his semi was pulling two trailers loaded with lumber through St. Helens, Oregon. Matty was riding in the cab with him. He was enjoying the high-sitting ride and view. He liked the powerful sounds of the motor. He took pride in being with his dad. Then the unexpected happened.
Matthew Lovo Sr. Had a seizure of some sort. Doctors are still trying to figure it out. He lost consciousness at the wheel of his truck, and it veered into oncoming traffic and struck a utility pole. Matthew Lovo Jr. Didn’t panic.
When he saw his father had collapsed, Matty called his name. When there was no answer, he smacked him to try to wake him up. Then he did what he had to do. He climbed across his dad and into the driver’s seat. He steered the big truck back into its lanes and had the presence of mind to get on the truck’s C.B. radio to ask what he should do. Somebody heard his plea for help and told him to turn off the ignition key. He did that. The rig began to slow down.
At just that moment, the semi passed Christopher Howard. Driving the opposite direction on the highway, he saw that a child was at the wheel of the slow-moving vehicle. He stopped his car, jumped out, and chased down the truck on foot. He jumped aboard, climbed into the cab with Matty, and applied the brakes that a nine-year-old boy’s legs could not reach while steering.
The St. Helens Police Department didn’t ticket Matty. To the contrary, it made a public statement of support for his “cool demeanor” in an incident that could have ended tragically.
“I just did the stuff,” said a humble Matty. “I thought, I should just do what my Dad does.” He did. And he is a young hero for it.
Some of us Dads and Moms should think about this father-son story very deeply. Our children watch. They absorb. They take their cues about how to react to crises and joys, family and friends, God and man. You’ve heard all your life about how more lessons are caught than taught, haven’t you? It is true!
“I should just do what my Dad does,” thought Matty. And it served him well on that day to remember and imitate his father’s habits in driving a truck. May it serve him well in a thousand other settings as well.
If it won’t do to have your children do what you’re doing today, maybe it isn’t too late. It’s worth the effort for both of you. Get some help to change!
Rubel Shelly GBCIII@aol.com FAX of Life www.rubelshelly.com