It was a happy reunion Friday night, one Erin Kaye will never forget.

Kaye, 35, and seven months pregnant with her first child, got to give proper thanks to the man she is certain saved her life Oct. 10 when she crashed her car while trying to avoid a raccoon on Interstate 295 in Falmouth.

She and her husband, Clint, also 35, arrived around 6:30 p.m. at the Morning Sentinel office to meet her rescuer, Scott Landon, 48, of Burnham.

When Landon walked through the door, Erin Kaye immediately embraced the 6-foot-3-inch truck driver, who had witnessed her Toyota Prius slam against a guardrail that dark morning, forcing him to make a split-second decision whether to brake or gun it. He chose to gun it – a decision that by all accounts was the right one, as his tractor-trailer missed her car by just feet.

He then stayed with her until emergency crews arrived, talking to her and comforting her, telling her everything would be OK.

Kaye, of Durham, had been searching for the identity of her rescuer for two weeks, calling flooring companies – he had told her at the scene that he was delivering flooring – with no success. She finally contacted the Morning Sentinel to see if we could do a story to help put the word out.

I wrote a column about her search which appeared in Monday’s Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, and on our MaineToday Media website, and it wasn’t long before the tips started rolling in.

Once we identified Landon, who works for NRF Distributors of Augusta, I called him and the Kayes and they agreed to meet Friday night at the Sentinel.

Landon brought along his wife, Sharon, and their daughter, Alyssa, and Alyssa’s 11-month-old daughter, Peyton.

There were hugs and thank-yous and laughter all around during their 45-minute reunion, and then the serious, heartfelt words were spoken.

The Kayes had had a difficult time getting pregnant, which made what Landon did to help Erin after the accident so much more poignant for the Kayes. Clint recalled the early-morning phone call from his wife Oct. 10, telling him she had been in an accident.

“She was hysterical. It meant a lot to me that you waited with her until EMTs arrived,” he told Landon. “It was a very gentlemanly thing to do, which meant the world to me.”

Erin, her eyes filling with tears, added: “It’s a big deal. People aren’t like that. People aren’t like that at all. How many cars flew past us on the highway and didn’t stop?”

It was 6:15 that morning and Kaye, 35, was driving 65 to 75 mph across the Presumpscot River in Falmouth to her job at Standard Baking Co., where she is a baker.

Suddenly, out of the dark, she saw the raccoon running toward her.

“I didn’t know it was a raccoon until it almost reached me,” Kaye said later. “I don’t know if it was because the road was frosty, but I lost control of my vehicle and ended up swerving across both lanes and smashed into the guardrail at a high rate of speed, and just as I hit the guardrail, I saw two giant headlights from a tractor-trailer. He swerved to avoid me and missed me by just feet.”

The truck driver pulled over and ran toward her. She drove her damaged car off the road and was hysterical, repeating over and over to him, “I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant …”

She was terrified that her baby – a girl – was hurt because of the accident. But the truck driver, who said his name was Scott, was nice to her and comforted her, telling her that everything would be fine. He calmly called 911, held her hand, sat with her and talked with her until emergency crews arrived. When they did, they turned the trucker away because he was not technically involved in the accident, she told me when I first interviewed her.

Before she knew it, the trucker was gone and she never had a chance to thank him properly. Meanwhile, emergency workers determined her car was drivable and she was free to go, so she drove herself to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was admitted overnight.

She said she was in shock and remembers nothing of her trip to the hospital, where it was determined her placenta had torn away from her uterine wall a little bit and she was placed on a fetal monitor overnight. Fortunately, she was OK and the baby was fine.

But she and her husband were consumed with a need to find Scott, that truck driver, to thank him. She recalled her husband would choke up and say he wanted to give him a hug for saving her life.

She recalled the trucker told her at the scene that he had 30 years’ experience driving, and when her car struck the guardrail, he had to make a quick decision. He made the right one, she said.

“If he hadn’t done that, I would have been smashed like a bug,” she said. “I completely credit him for saving my life.”

In the few minutes she had with him before emergency workers arrived, she learned he was delivering flooring for a company in Augusta or Auburn and he had a daughter and she and her 10-month-old grandchild both live with him. His white truck had an advertisement on it with a woman in high heels, but she did not remember the company name.

After the column about her search for him went viral on Facebook, Alyssa, Landon’s daughter, recognized the rescuer as her father and contacted us. She and her mother, Sharon, said he is a wonderful husband and father. He wouldn’t think twice about helping someone in need, they said.

“We’re totally not surprised, because he’s just one of the good guys — he really is,” Sharon said. “He’s our everyday hero.”

Landon said he has witnessed many crashes during his years of driving trucks, and he has had to swerve to avoid out-of-control vehicles, particularly in Boston, where he has seen a lot of bad drivers.

Clint Kaye said he was glad it was Landon who was driving on I-295 on Oct. 10 and not someone else.

“It’s a good outcome for a very bad situation,” Clint said.

Erin Kaye said she hopes the story of Landon’s actions encourages more people “to just be nicer to each other.”

“This is for you,” she said, handing him an envelope and telling him he did not need to open it right away. Erin acknowledged she is a shy person, and wasn’t sure just how to show her appreciation for all he did.

“What do you say to somebody?” she said. “I didn’t know what to say.”

Landon’s wife summed up what everyone in the room was thinking, but did not verbalize: “He was meant to be there.”

After they all hugged, said goodbye and vowed to stay in touch, they walked out of the building and into the dark, wet night.

At that moment, I thought about how we never really know how or why certain people come into our lives at just the right moment.

But Scott Landon came into Erin Kaye’s, and it an awfully happy ending.

For previous Reporting Aside columns by Amy Calder, go to centralmaine.com.