Inside the Tollway
Illinois Tollway roadway maintenance worker Brian Bamonti had just started his shift on Thanksgiving Day when he stopped to assist a driver pulled over on the shoulder of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) near South Barrington.
The driver said he had just changed a flat tire and was catching his breath before resuming his trip, but Bamonti, who was conducting motorist aid patrols that afternoon, quickly became concerned about the man’s health. “He was breathing heavy, and coughing,” said Bamonti. “I said, ‘do you need an ambulance?’ He said, ‘I hope not.’”
Bamonti, an Equipment Operator/Laborer based at the M-5 maintenance site in Schaumburg, wasn’t convinced. After conferring briefly with another Tollway worker, Bamonti called for an ambulance and waited with the driver until medical help arrived. It turned out to be the right call: The driver was having a heart attack and received intensive medical attention in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, a family member said later in a social media message, thanking roadway workers for saving his life by promptly providing help.
Bamonti said he’s glad he called for medical assistance, despite the driver’s insistence that he was fine. “I know it can be taxing changing a tire, but after a few minutes he was still breathing heavy. I didn’t want to take any chances,” said Bamonti, who while working at a previous job had been trained as an emergency medical technician.
But it wasn’t the longago training that made him decide to call for medical help, it was something much simpler, Bamonti said. “He just wasn’t looking so good,” Bamonti said of the driver.
That common-sense, no-nonsense attitude is what makes Bamonti so good at his job, his supervisor said. “Brian’s very hard-working, very respectful. He’s a pleasure to work with because he takes his job seriously and wants to do it right,” said Matt Carter, his supervisor at M-5.
And Bamonti has good judgment and good instincts when it comes to working with customers—even the ones who say they don’t need any help. “I tell my guys all the time, ‘trust your gut,’ ” Carter said. “I’m glad he trusted his. He saved a life.”
Bamonti said reacting to unexpected situations is just part of his job, but he’s thankful he made the right call by calling for help. “I’ve had a few different medical issues with drivers, but nothing that drastic,” he said. “I’m just glad he got the help he needed.”