Maybe you saw this recent walking story. It was all over the news this weekend. It’s so remarkable, so improbable, so “good,” that it’s hard to believe it’s true, though nobody seems to doubt that it is.
Jacob Cartwright, aged 22, (that’s him above) set off in his tractor trailer on Tuesday, to deliver a truckload of potato chips from Portland to Nyssa, in Oregon, a 390 mile trip according to Google maps, through snow, intending to make the delivery by 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. And he went missing.
There was a land and air search, which failed to find him. After 4 days Cartwright’s wife went home from a meeting with local officials about the search and found him sitting in their house. He’d been walking. He’d walked home. He told his wife he was “hurting real bad” and she took him to the hospital.
|Almost certainly not Jacob Cartwright's truck, but it's from the company he works for.|
The story Is that he punched the wrong address into his GPS and so it sent him up the wrong road. He became aware of that sooner or later, and he had the GPS recalculate, but then it sent him up a forest service road which started out paved but then became dirt and so the truck got stuck. Cell phone service was patchy and in any case his battery had died, so he got out of the truck and started walking to his home in La Grande, which at that point was about 36 miles away.
He walked without any food or water from just after midnight Wednesday and kept going, wading through snow at some points, and by Saturday morning he was near enough to La Grande, to hitch a ride to his home.
I’m well aware that people can go long periods without food, but surely he needed water. He could have drunk the snow, I suppose, but apparently he didn’t. According to his boss Roy A. Henry, owner of Little Trees Transportation, “He was so dehydrated that his kidneys stopped functioning.” On the other hand, the nursing supervisor Danita Thamert at Grande Ronde Hospital said, “He looks to be pretty good. He’s a big boy. He kept moving and stayed warm enough. So it doesn’t look like he’s going to have too many injuries.”
And the punchline: despite having a truckload of potato chips he didn’t touch any of them. According to Henry again, when he asked Cartwright why he didn’t take some potato chips with him for the walk, Cartwright said, “That’s worth money. That’s the load I was hauling and I didn’t want to damage the property.”
The man’s a walking hero, though I don’t think he’d be any less of a hero if he’d taken a few bags of potato chips with him for the walk.