Toddler meets truckie saviour
Every day as Dennis Roderick drives his courier truck down Mana Esplanade, he looks out for a particular house with a child's Lego creations stacked on the windowsill.
It's where two-year-old Liam Adamson lives, who wandered on to State Highway 1 on February 29 last year and was saved by Mr Roderick's heroic actions.
Paraparaumu resident Mr Roderick was named the Beaurepaires Highway Hero of 2012 at a ceremony last Wednesday. He was praised by national road policing manager, superintendent Carey Griffiths, and given $5000.
As a surprise the Adamson family attended the ceremony to thank Mr Roderick personally.
"We're just so grateful for your efforts on that day," Liam's dad Jason Adamson said.
Liam, aged 16 months, had got outside the family home's front gate and wandered on to the road in a singlet and nappy. The gate had been unlatched by somebody delivering flyers to the house.
Mr Roderick was driving a 20-metre-long courier truck and spotted Liam just six metres ahead. He slammed on the brakes, turned the truck across the road to stop traffic, ran to the boy and scooped him up.
"It's hard to comprehend. I just thought 'my god, there's a baby on the road'," Mr Roderick said.
Liam's mother and grandmother soon raced out of the gate, in shock at what could have happened, he said. Meanwhile, Liam was oblivious to the drama he had caused.
"When I picked him up he just put his head on my shoulder and cuddled me," Mr Roderick said. "He was a dear little chap."
Despite his award, Mr Roderick doesn't feel like a hero.
"I say to people it wasn't a big deal, but to the parents it was. It was just something you do. A little boy appears on the highway in front of you, you just stop, get out and grab him."
Liam's mum Michelle Barr told Mr Roderick she keeps an eye out for his truck from the house.
"I see you go past every day."
She is glad the incident happened on a leap day.
"It only comes around every four years, thankfully."