The U.S. honored its first National Good Samaritan Day years ago, in memory of Catherine Genovese who was brutally murdered outside her apartment in 1964 while bystanders and onlookers passed by. The country was outraged by the fact that not a one came to her rescue while she was screaming for help, and March 13th was declared Good Samaritan Involvement Day.
In 2008, Tyler Andrews was injured in a horrific car accident, and what saved his life was the OnStar system in his vehicle. In 2012 he came to the rescue of a driver who needed his help, and was named the 2012 OnStar Good Samaritan of the Year. Tyler joined me along with OnStar Global Emergency Outreach and Strategy Manager, Cathy Bishop to discuss everything from the Good Samaritan of the Year award to how you should react if you see an emergency (or potential emergency) on the road, and how you can celebrate National Good Samaritan Day.
Candace Rose: Tyler, how did you become the 2012 Good Samaritan of the Year?
Tyler Andrews: “Well, in 2008 I was involved in a major auto accident. A drunk driver hit me in Houston, middle of the night, no other pedestrians were around to help or call for assistance. I hit the median at 70 miles per hour. My truck rolled seven times, my cellphone was thrown through the vehicle. I couldn’t call assistance myself because I was just worried if I was going to be alive or not. OnStar called the police. They called Fire and Rescue to come and help me, and they had first responders there within three minutes. It was an amazing situation, and that really taught me the awareness of how important the OnStar emergency system is.
In 2012 I came up to a vehicle that I saw an unconscious person in the driver’s seat. I called the OnStar emergency center and this gentleman was having a heart attack. The OnStar trained personnel helped me through everything, step by step. They called and calmed the situation down, and we got this man the help that he needed and deserved. It really taught me how important OnStar is and what a great tool it is that they put in their vehicles.”
Candace Rose: How should one react when seeing a stranded vehicle or a crash?
Cathy Bishop: “I think the most important thing to remember is that you need to keep yourself safe. We encourage people to use the OnStar system, which is an embedded three button assembly. We encourage them to use the red emergency button to connect to a trained advisor team. But if you don’t happen to be in an OnStar equipped vehicle and you do feel that you’re safe and you’re able to, we always encourage you to call 911, give them a precise location, tell them exactly what’s occurring and do your part to make somebody else’s life better or the outcome of the situation better.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other things that we need to remember in any kind of emergency?
Cathy Bishop: “Well, I think the most important thing to remember is location is key. If you don’t have a good location, they won’t know where to send help. This is why the OnStar system is really a lifesaving device because we’ve got that pinpointed location, we know which first responder agencies have jurisdiction and we can quickly contact them and get help out to people who need it.”
Candace Rose: Tomorrow is National Good Samaritan Day; how can everyone celebrate this day?
Cathy Bishop: “Well, I think Tyler will agree, he had the opportunity to really pay it forward. And we would encourage everyone, even if it’s a simple gesture of helping someone through a doorway, or something as heroic as calling for someone who is having a medical emergency or a crime that just occurred- do your part, pay it forward. Do what you would want someone else do for you.”
Candace Rose: Do either of you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Tyler Andrews: “I would say you can make a difference. You can save someone’s life today, so just remember it’s only a button or a phone call away.”
Candace Rose: Where can viewers go for more information on OnStar?
Cathy Bishop: “You can go to our website, which is OnStar.com. You can learn all about our emergency and security services, and all of the other great features that General Motors and OnStar offer.”