When Marc Solomon of Johns Creek approached the man in the blue Volvo, Solomon was not, strictly speaking, trying to help the man out.
In fact, at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, after eight hours of gridlock, he was actually trying to shove the other guy out of the way. The Volvo was stalled crossways on the frozen ramp to Mansell Road, blocking all traffic. Solomon and others were hoping to push it down the ramp so they could finally get off Ga. 400 and continue on the long, painful commute to the paralyzed suburbs.
They’d already helped to push three or four other cars out of the way.
But then Solomon realized the Volvo wasn’t running. Nor was the man inside responding. In fact, he was only semi-conscious.
Solomon, 47, is a manager in a software firm and not exactly skilled in medicine, but he could tell the man was almost frozen.
“I knocked on the driver’s window, and I saw that he was shaking uncontrollably,” Solomon said. “The only thing he could say was ‘Parkinson’s’ and ‘medication.’ ”
The 50-ish man was shaking so badly that he couldn’t open his prescription bottle. Solomon took three pills out of the bottle, according to the instructions, then placed them in the man’s mouth while another motorist offered a bottle of water to wash them down.
Solomon got the car started and turned the heat on; his wife, Melissa, called 911; and, miraculously, a responder from Alpharetta was on the scene within about 10 minutes.
That police officer would be one of the few emergency personnel that the Solomons would see during their agonizingly slow 12-hour round trip from their home to pick up their daughter, Caroline, 16, at North Springs High School.
The police officer congratulated him on possibly saving the man’s life. Then an ambulance began to pick its way between the stalled cars, and Solomon drove on.
Ed Gillman, a friend from Johns Creek, said he heard the story later.
“They told him he had literally saved this person’s life, since he would have frozen to death,” Gillman said.
Solomon said it is ironic that he was just trying to clear the path so he could keep going, but he was glad he’d been at the right place at the right time.
He never found out the man’s name. “I didn’t even look at the name on the prescription bottle,” Solomon said. “I guess that’s what happens when you’re in the moment.”