Insights > A Chance Encounter

A Chance Encounter


Sometimes things happen for a reason. And while it's hard for a power company to find the positive in the lights going out in the middle of the Texas summer, for one Beaumont resident, it might have saved his life. 

Derek Smith, Beaumont serviceman, was on his way to shoot trouble for a lights-out call when he saw a man on the ground in a driveway waving him down. Smith quickly stopped to check on the individual. As he approached, he realized it was an elderly gentleman who was completely soaked in sweat. He sat him up and started talking to him. That's when he realized that he was drooling. Smith's safety training kicked in and he immediately knew the individual was experiencing heat stress.

He helped the man up and took him over to a chair under a fan and then ran back to his truck to get cold water and ice and dunked a towel in his cooler. He went back to the man and put the cold towel on his neck and gave him the water.

"He immediately felt relief," said Smith.

Smith stuck around and chatted with him to see if he had any other symptoms. He learned the man was trying to help his neighbor by pulling his trashcan up for him. That's when he fell, couldn't get up and became overheated.

Later, that very neighbor arrived home, saw the Entergy truck and came over to see what was going on. The neighbor told Smith that the gentleman was always doing things like that for his neighbors - looking out for and helping others. After talking to the man for a while and seeing his condition improve, Smith left him in the care of his neighbor and went to respond to the lights-out call.

"I was glad I could assist him that day," said Smith. "I think a lot of people would have kept driving, unfortunately. If I didn't stop, who knows how long until someone happened to drive by and see him."

Things could have turned out very differently for that man.

 "When I drive through that neighborhood, I still slow down in front of his house just to see if I can see him moving around. To make sure he's still doing okay."​