CALGARY -- An Okotoks, Alta. woman is thanking the strangers who helped ensure her family was safe when her newborn arrived seven minutes into the drive to a Calgary hospital.

The maternity wards in High River, Alta. and other nearby hospitals were closed due to the pandemic, so Melissa Gordon’s boyfriend, Cary Drews, was driving her to Rockyview Hospital on May 27 when she gave birth to her daughter in the vehicle.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to give birth,” said Melissa Gordon. “It was all natural."

She went into labour in the morning on May 27 and at 1 p.m. they began driving to the hospital. Her daughter was born at 1:07 p.m. as her excited boyfriend stopped their vehicle on the northbound overpass from Okotoks onto Highway 2.

“All of a sudden she was like, 'Yeah I think its coming,' and then all of a sudden ... poof, there’s a baby,” said Drews.

“I’m super impressed."

Drews flagged down a couple in another vehicle who had stopped on the ramp and they helped flag down an ambulance so paramedics could check on the new mom and her baby. Another driver also stopped to block traffic while EMS worked and eventually transported the mother and newborn to hospital.

The first-time mom said she and baby, Svenja, are doing well.

“I was discharged within 24 hours because of how the birth went,” said Gordon.

Though she doesn’t know the names of the people who helped, Gordon said she is thankful for their kindness.

The little girl was given a memorable middle name, Dodge.

“Since she was born in a Dodge it just seemed fitting,” said Gordon.

“I know a lot of people are going to question that when she gets older but it’s a birth story that she can tell, then they’ll understand it.”

The parents are overjoyed with their first child and grateful to the strangers who ensured their family was safe, despite the lack of interactions during the pandemic.

“It shows that people are still willing to be helpful and kind to you even though things are still up in the air and scary.  Makes you a little more hopeful about what’s going on.”

The couple said they were too distracted after the birth to remember the names of the people who helped them.

They hope this story might help connect them so the couple can treat those people to dinner as a thank you.