SOURCE: Ryder System, Inc.

Ryder System, Inc.

December 28, 2010 14:30 ET

Ryder Salutes Employee, Jim Phillips, for Roadside Rescue During California Floods

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - December 28, 2010) - Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE: R), a leader in transportation and supply chain management solutions, wishes to recognize the heroic efforts of employee, Jim Phillips, whose fast thinking, brave actions and calm, tactical response helped rescue a grandmother and her granddaughter from being swept away by floodwaters.

Early Wednesday, December 22nd, Debra Jackson of Clover, Montana, and her granddaughter, were on their way to do Christmas shopping near Ventura, California, when an earthen embankment holding a large pond of retained water, near Hueneme Road, collapsed just as their car was driving past.

"The road that I was on was next to a field and it had a large ditch next to it," said Ms. Jackson. "The water quickly overtook my rental car and the motor died. As others turned around to get away from the flash flood, I noticed a man working hard to get my door open on my car. The car started to move from the rush of water, which was coming in the car at a fast rate of speed. This man, whose only name I got was Jim, saw that I had my six year old grandchild in the back seat. He yelled to me to get her to the front and then with everything he had, he put his arm through the back window and had me hand my grandchild to him. Once she was out he took his jacket off and covered her and placed her in his big truck to stay warm and dry."

Ms. Jackson continued, "Very little time had passed and he returned for me. With me being 62 years young, I think he just knew that I would not make it through the window. He rushed back to his truck and got a chain and attached it to the car and pulled the car back to a drier area where the water was low enough to open the door. Once I was able to get out, a fire truck showed up. I could see that Jim was freezing cold from the water as it was well above his knees and he had given his jacket to my granddaughter. He came over one last time to check on me and Amy and without notice he was gone."

Ms. Jackson had noted that the vest that "Jim" was wearing was emblazoned with "Ryder SoCal Operations Team" across the back. Later that same day, Ms. Jackson sent an e-mail to members of Ryder's management team in Miami, detailing her near-tragedy and wishing to identify and thank the person she knew only as "Jim." In Ms. Jackson's words, "I am not sure what you instill in your employees, but you have one man in Ventura, Calif., who I believe saved not only me, but most importantly my granddaughter's life. I hope he is OK, as I did see that he was bleeding some from the glass that he had to break. Jim gave me and my family the best Christmas present ever. Me and my family will always be indebted to him for what he did when others would not. Please thank him for us and if he does not work for you, I hope I did not waste your time, but I think that whoever employs this person is very lucky."

Ryder's management team was able to identify that "Jim" was Jim Phillips, a Maintenance Manager for Ryder in Southern, California, who has worked for Ryder for more than 15 years and is known as a highly conscientious and knowledgeable employee, and a very humble person.

Ryder Chairman and CEO Greg Swienton, who has reached out to Mr. Phillips to personally thank him for his efforts, said, "This may be the greatest example of heroism by a Ryder employee since we recognized one of our drivers in New York for heroic efforts on September 11, 2001. Jim Phillips is a humble hero who epitomizes what is great about Ryder employees. As such, we wish to recognize and thank Jim for giving all of us a warm, Holiday reminder of the importance of safety and the spirit of caring for others."

Additionally, Ryder President of Global Fleet Management Solutions Robert Sanchez said, "This is a fitting closing to 2010. We have reason to be very proud of our company and extraordinary people like Jim Phillips who work with us."

In the time since the incident, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Phillips have communicated directly to express their appreciation and concern for the well being of one another. 

About Ryder

Ryder is a FORTUNE 500® commercial transportation, logistics and supply chain management solutions company. Ryder's stock (NYSE: R) is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Inbound Logistics magazine has recognized Ryder as the top third party logistics provider, and Security magazine has named Ryder a top company for security practices in the transportation, logistics, supply chain, and warehousing sector. Ryder is a proud member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, supporting national and local disaster preparedness and response efforts. For more information on Ryder System, Inc., visit

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