UPS Driver Takes Video Selfie With Motorists He Saved in His Truck in Hurricane Ida Flood

By Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.
September 17, 2021 Updated: September 17, 2021

UPS driver Nick Dirla from New Jersey loves his job—which keeps him on the go, making deliveries throughout his hometown of Bridgewater. While in his truck, heading inbound on the night of Sept. 1, he found himself in exactly the “right place at the right time” during a storm.

Hurricane Ida had caused flooding on the road. Nick was on Highway 22 West near the Mountain Avenue exit when he was confronted with high waters amidst pouring rain.

Luckily, he was able to save a number of stranded motorists that day.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Nick Dirla)

“There was not much time to even think,” Nick told The Epoch Times. “The rain had come up so high that it had almost reached the top of the median.

“I tried to go through, and as I went through, the engine totally flooded, just totally went out on me.”

Looking outside his truck, he saw other motorists in deep trouble—quite literally. “I look up and I saw a woman on top of her car, which is totally flooded up to the whole entire top of the car, and she’s on top screaming, ‘Help, help! You gotta help me!’”

Nick told her to get in and then helped her through the truck’s small window, which was only about one foot wide.

Soon, he spotted more motorists who weren’t faring so well in the floodwaters, either. “I looked to my left and I see another car with an older couple,” he said. “They were sitting in their car with water up to their stomach, just sitting there in disbelief.

“In my mind, that’s not going to end well for them if they stay.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Nick Dirla)

Nick acted quickly, and was able to get them safely inside his UPS truck.

Cars were literally floating down the highway. Soon, a firefighter in his car broke down next to Nick’s truck and he came aboard.

“It was just absolute chaos,” the UPS driver recalled.

After pulling seven motorists inside, some of whom were frantic, in a bid to ease their worries, Nick took a selfie video with them to lighten the mood, and it later gained media attention on YouTube.

But the fun didn’t last long.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Nick Dirla)

As the flood continued to develop, the truck took on water, until it was up to their ankles. They realized they had to flee or risk getting caught in a much worse situation.

They chose to traverse the highway/pond on foot, crossing the center median, and luckily were able to find a residential road close by. They began knocking on doors, and at about the fifth or sixth house, a woman answered.

“I don’t blame them, but they were very surprised,” Nick said. “A pack of eight soaking-wet individuals—they had a look of disbelief.”

(Courtesy of Nick Dirla)

She agreed to shuttle them to her boyfriend’s house just down the road, where they were given food and, if they needed, a place to stay for the night.

“Thankfully, these people were so kind, so generous,” Nick said. “It was just like saving grace at that point.”

Recalling the ordeal, Nick said it was “absolutely unbelievable,” but he’s glad he was able to help those stranded motorists.

“The more I look back on it, I started to think I was in the absolute right place at the absolute right time, because people died a mile and a half from where I was,” he said.

“If I had not broken down, what would have happened to those individuals, who knows?”

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Michael Wing
Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.