Life is a precious thing, and that’s never more clear than when you almost lose it. But for certain lucky individuals, when bad luck hits, they are fortunate enough to have someone around who can get involved and prevent the worst from happening. And for those who step in and successfully save a person from a dark fate, the memory unsurprisingly sticks with them forever. Forget superhero movies—these people are the real lifesavers.
1. Answering The Call
I had a good friend who was going through some very stressful times in his life. He began experiencing symptoms of severe anxiety, tension headaches, feelings of dizziness, and lethargy. He went to the doctors, who prescribed him benzos. He wasn’t doing too well, and I went over several times to his house. Each time, it seemed like he was losing it more and more.
I would call him to check in from time to time to see how he was doing and to try and calm him down. One day, I got a chilling gut feeling that I couldn’t shake. I felt a sudden need to call him right then and there. I called him and he answered the phone crying. I asked how he was doing and he said, “Not good.” I went and picked him up, and noticed an empty fifth of whiskey on his dresser.
He had always been a heavy drinker and, at that moment, I realized that benzos and alcohol don’t mix. I took him to the emergency room and he was admitted. He had a blood-alcohol level of .36, indicating that he was intoxicated and at risk of losing his life. From there, we convinced him to take some medication and go to rehab.
On my way to drop him off at the rehab center, he told me: “Hey man, you’re a great friend. I just want you to know that if you hadn’t showed up today, I was going to take my own life.” That hit me hard.
2. Running For Your Life
I am a doctor. Even then, I can count the number of times I can say I’ve saved someone’s life on one hand, with fingers still left over. I was working at an athletic event. After a long-distance running competition that had open entry, a person collapsed and stopped breathing. I worked with my team to stabilize them and transfer them to a hospital.
They needed support for their airway in order to keep breathing. Had they not received it right away, they would have asphyxiated and passed. Because I was there to immediately help, they survived. I met them with their spouse and eight-year-old child a few months later. Actually, it was on this very day a few years ago! Meeting them was the biggest reward for me. The best feeling I’ve ever had.
3. I Confess
One day, in college, I was on my way to grab dinner with some friends and ran into another friend in the parking lot. I invited him to come with me and join us, and we proceeded to have a totally unremarkable dinner in the cafeteria. Years later, post-graduation, we were hanging out one night and getting a bit intoxicated.
During that hangout, he confessed to me that he was on his way to take his own life that night before I ran into him.
4. Doctor’s Orders
When my father was experiencing a bunch of alarming symptoms, I finally told him that he had to go see a doctor or else I would force him to. He was super tired all the time, but refused to take the issue seriously. When he did finally see a doctor at my demand, it turned out that he had cancer and his liver was about to fail. Thankfully, we caught it just in time.
5. Sounds Like This Babysitter Needs A Babysitter…
I was swimming in the middle of a neighborhood pool and watched a toddler at the side of the pool take his floats off and then jump in the water. He landed about ten feet away from the end. He curled up like a ball and began to sink quickly. I was able to reach him before he reached the bottom. He was scared and screaming. But that’s not even the worst part.
Where was the babysitter this whole time? On her phone.
6. The Wheels On The Bus
While I waiting for the bus one day, this random guy wearing sunglasses also waiting for the bus leans over the curb to look and see if the bus is coming. He then randomly collapses, so I run into the street where he collapsed and stop cars from running over him. I ask him if he is okay, then I call for an ambulance, and drag him out of the street.
It turns out that he was a veteran and he had gotten hit by a blast from a grenade several years ago. He has had to take meds to help with his migraines ever since, and at times he blacks out randomly. It was a very busy intersection too, so it was really important that someone was there to stop traffic when this happened. Otherwise, he would have been hit by a car for sure.
7. That Escalated Quickly
This July, I was in an airport at the top of an escalator where a woman was trying to deal with her luggage, a baby in a stroller, and a toddler. Her toddler slipped right before they got on the escalator and, without thinking, she reached for him and, in doing so, let go of the baby stroller that was halfway onto the top stair of the escalator.
The stroller started to tilt downward and, when I realized it was about to completely tip over, I dropped my own luggage, grabbed it and brought it back up to the landing. No idea if I actually saved anybody’s life, but the escalator wasn’t empty, so I imagine it would have fallen all the way down and potentially tumbled over anyone in its path.
8. On The Waterfront
When I was probably about 12 or 13 years old, I saved my four-year-old brother’s life. We were in Oregon for spring break as a family and were watching the ocean waves on the beach. Suddenly, an enormous rogue wave came out of nowhere and it pushed us all the way up the beach and against the cliffs.
As the water rushed out, I saw my brother tumbling in the surge. So I lunged forward and grabbed him with one arm while I held onto a big rock for dear life with the other. It was literally like something you’d see in a movie. My shoes, jacket, and wallet were all swept out to sea. So were the belongings of my other family members. But I still have a brother!
9. Breathtaking Heroism
I’m a pediatric nurse and I got a post-op patient. She was nine years old and was having a second revision surgery to her cleft palate repair. A year prior, a different ENT had tried to take tissue from her throat and add it to her palate to prevent as much airflow as possible. This was considered cosmetic, because the air flow was causing the patient to have a high “Minnie Mouse” voice.
That surgery did not work, as the graft failed. No other ENT would try it again, but a new ENT moved to town and agreed to try. She was stable when they brought her to my floor. Obviously in pain and drooling, but stable. She used a board to write and told her dad she was hungry. I had not even finished checking her into the computer when I heard what I assumed was phlegm in her throat.
This can be common after surgery because of intubation, especially when your throat has just been operated on. Her dad and I encouraged her to gently cough and spit out the mucus, as it was getting harder for her to breathe. She gently coughed, gave me a look of absolute panic, and passed out. What came next week stick with me forever. A pool of blood came out of her mouth so quickly, it made a continuous stream of blood onto the floor.
I called a code, immediately repositioned her, and suctioned her throat so she could breathe. The suction canister began to fill with blood and I knew her life was about to end. I called another code for Blood Bank, so they could send me six units stat. At this point, the amount of blood was copious. After she stopped breathing, I began to manually ventilate her.
Her blood sprayed out all over the place in a fine mist. It was so bad that, later that night, I washed my face and found tiny blood droplets stuck to my eyelashes. It was even on the ceiling of the room. Trying to ventilate a hemorrhaging surgical site is not something anyone is ever prepared for. Yet, miraculously, my team and I worked to stabilize her.
We provided her with CPR for twenty minutes and transfused her all the way down to the operating room, where her surgeon had rushed to meet us. He cauterized the bleeders and, at the debriefing later, admitted that she had bled a lot during the surgery and that he had used three times the normal amount of Lidocaine to get it to finally stop.
Those Lidocaine doses all wore off right when I got her onto my floor, so it was no surprise she bled. Our hospital changed its policy as a result of this incident. It now insists that anyone who has had a similar kind of operation must be accompanied overnight with a bedside nurse and must remain with an oral airway at bedside in case of code.
My patient survived, but took a big neurological hit. Finally, after some time, she qualified for rehab. She went for months, and now can ride a bike and ski again. She is almost caught up in school again as well. I thank God every day that I was in her room when it happened, or she would not be here and her life would have been over right then and there.
During the mayhem, her mother fainted in the corner of the room and her dad stood across her bed, repeatedly screaming in my face: “She’s going! Do something!” Over and over again. I could feel his breath blowing my hair back, but my vision had narrowed and I blocked him out in order to focus on what I needed to quickly do for my patient. Very stressful.
10. Party Favor
When I was in middle school, my dad took me to one of his friend’s barbecues. His friend had a young son that I think was around four or five years old at the time. Everyone had been swimming in the pool and then went into the yard to go eat. No one saw the little kid run back to the pool except for me. Before I could say anything, he jumped in without his swimmies.
I ran as fast as I could to him as he thrashed in the water, and I pulled him out. His parents were absolutely shocked and terrified. They didn’t think he would ever do anything like that. Thankfully, he ended up being fine, and the experience scared him out of ever doing it again. Always watch your kids if you have a pool! Even if you think they know better, they probably don’t.
11. Deep Dive
While scuba diving, the zip tie that holds the mouthpiece onto the regulator broke and, when the diver exhaled, the regulator popped out of the rubber mouthpiece and fell off to the side. The diver didn’t notice until they exhaled all their air and then tried to inhale again. They freaked and tried to bolt for the surface from about 120 feet.
I grabbed them with one hand and tried to shove my spare regulator into their mouth. But they wouldn’t spit out the useless rubber mouthpiece. A fellow dive instructor grabbed me and anchored himself to the mooring line so that we stopped ascending. I free-flowed my spare regulator into the diver’s rubber mouthpiece and that got him to snap out of it and register what I was trying to do.
He spit his mouthpiece out, stuffed my regulator into his mouth, took a big breath, and tried to bolt for the surface again. I stayed clamped to him and my partner stayed clamped to me and the mooring line. Eventually, the guy calmed down and got himself back under control, after which we made a controlled ascent back to safety.
One day at Central Station in Sydney, I noticed an intoxicated old bloke near the edge of the platform. When I saw a train coming, my gut just told me he was going to fall onto the tracks. I walked up near him just in case. Sure enough, he stumbled a few steps and was about to fall on the tracks when I grabbed his shirt and pulled him back, just as the train was about twenty meters away.
Then, I took a bite of my Mars bar, trying to be all nonchalant, but my heart was beating a thousand miles an hour. An old lady walked up to me and said: “I think you saved that poor man’s life.” I shrugged and gave a mild smile, but the voice inside my head was saying: “Heck yeah, I saved his life. Make me a cape, old lady, while I put my underpants over my pants, because that’s the most superhero thing you’re gonna see all day!”
13. To Boat Or Not To Boat
A few friends and I once saved a tourist family from drowning while surfing on the island of Oahu. We had been surfing an outer reef on the south shore that was a good half mile or so off the coast. All of a sudden, we noticed a family paddling out on a kayak. It was a single person kayak, but it was carrying a dad, a younger daughter, a younger son, and an older teenage son.
They paddled directly into an area of the reef where five foot waves were crashing very fast and very powerfully onto pretty much every dry reef. It took only seconds for us to see them go from paddling along in the kayak to seeing them all bobbing in the waves and the kayak 200 yards away, stuck on the reef. We quickly paddled across the channel as fast as we could.
We then each gave one of the kids and the dad our boards. We pulled them by our leashes far enough into the lagoon that they could walk. I vividly remember the dad saying: “I’m not panicking, I’m not panicking” over and over again in a thick Russian accent. I had to repeatedly reassure him that he’d be okay, but that we needed to focus on what we were doing.
It just goes to show how dangerous the ocean truly is and how deadly it could have been for that family if we hadn’t been there.
14. Spotted Just In Time
I once found a man hanging from the rafters. I called my mother and brother over for help, and the three of us cut him down. We performed chest compressions on him for about thirty minutes, until the paramedics finally arrived. He ended up surviving, thankfully, but the entire experience was pretty traumatic and difficult to cope with.
15. A Friendly Ghost
I’m a law enforcement officer. One night, my team and I get a call about someone who had attempted to take his own life. The dude had slit his wrist badly. When we got to him, he was ghost white. Like a sheet of paper white. We put pressure on the wound and kept him conscious until medics arrived. He survived. He thanked us once he recovered.
16. If It Quacks Like A Duck
My dad and I were on vacation in Paris a couple of years ago, walking by the river. There weren’t that many people around. We were still jet-lagged, so we were up very early. Suddenly, this girl jogged by us with her dog off its leash. A couple of ducks about thirty feet ahead of us saw the dog coming, so they went into the water.
The dog goes in after the ducks. The girl goes in after the dog. Because it was the Seine in the middle of Paris and the banks are all paved, the side was extremely steep and neither of them could get up on their own right. We pulled them both out, one after the other, and then this husky the size of a dire wolf had the nerve to shake off all over us.
They may have figured out some way out if we hadn’t been there, or someone else might have heard the yelling in time to help them. But we’ll never know for sure. Either way, it’s a fun story. Leash your dogs, kids!
17. Plenty To Be Thankful For
A car was on the road in front of me one night, and driving pretty quickly. We were both going over 100 miles per hour. Then, I thought they were switching lanes, but they kept going…right into the guardrail. The engine flew from the car, and the battery ended up somewhere in the woods. The first responders later found it while surveying the damage.
The driver was extremely lucky that I was there to help when this happened. Apparently, the dude fell asleep at the wheel. His wife was in the passenger seat and their sixteen-year-old son was in the back. This was at maybe 3:00 in the morning on a deserted stretch of highway in rural Virginia. He broke his leg and was bleeding pretty badly from his face.
There was also a bone poking through his calf. Luckily, his brain wasn’t mush and he was aware enough to converse with. His wife’s airbag didn’t go off, but somehow she had only banged her head. I thought for sure that she didn’t make it, but thankfully she was only unconscious for a few moments and then she started to slur her speech.
She woke up and said something like “What’s going on?” I never checked her pulse, because I was focused on the driver. The son was in the best condition out of the three of them. He was asleep in the back seat of the car and was perfectly fine. All of their cell phones had disappeared. I’m sure they were all thrown from the car. No one ever found them as far as I’m aware.
Had I not been there to witness it, and had I not stopped to help, the dude would have bled out. The wife was in no condition to talk to anybody, and the son that was pretty much unscathed wouldn’t have had a way to contact anybody to get help. It was so deserted where we were that it took the ambulance and cops over twenty minutes to find us.
I used my belt as a tourniquet on the dude’s thigh, and the EMTs in the ambulance told me I did a good job with this. I’m glad they taught us and that I paid attention to some emergency first aid training in Navy boot camp. I still think about this incident every Thanksgiving, as it happened on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving back in 2011. I hope they are doing well.
18. A Kid In A Candy Shop
One time, I was eating dinner with my kid. I think she was maybe about four years old at the time. She started choking. I quickly shot my hand into her abdomen, up and in mimicking a heimlich. Whatever it was she was eating came flying out of her mouth. Once she was good, the stress got to me. So I went and cried in the bathroom for a couple minutes.
19. Right Place, Right Time
One time, a kid was drowning near where I was standing. The lifeguard yelled at me. I immediately jumped into the pool and pulled him out, since I realized that I was the closest adult. It all happened in less than seven seconds. I barely even had time to process what was going on before it was all over. I got free pool passes for a while after that.
20. Aren’t You Forgetting Something?
I worked in a medical lab back in the day. My job was to go over all of the doctor’s orders and make sure that everything was correct. One time, they missed a potassium test, so I ran in and got that ordered. The person’s potassium turned out to be lethally high. The tech called the doctor at 2:00 in the morning so that he could get the patient to the hospital right away.
21. Giving Of One’s Self
I donated bone marrow to a stranger who had been given just two months to live. It was a surprisingly easy process and I haven’t regretted doing it for a second. I registered during an on-campus drive and was called within the year as a match. The whole process took a couple months, and only a couple hours of my time for blood tests and doctors appointments.
I highly recommend anyone interested to join a registry. The odds are low of getting selected, but the chance to save a life is worth it.
22. A Good Night’s Sleep
I was in a chat group for people suffering from PTSD. I’ve saved a couple of people from taking their own lives by listening to them and telling them to sleep on it, because death is a big decision. Sleeping also helps reset your emotional regulators. Both times, they felt much better once they woke up. I’ve saved myself with this trick a few times, too.
23. Better Safe Than Sorry
I once had an employee come into my office complaining of pain. I started inquiring about the specifics, and it took a bit for him to start saying that his arm was hurting and tingling. He said his chest didn’t feel right. I loaded him up in my car and we went to a clinic, as he thought he had pulled a muscle while working.
The clinic doctor said he had indigestion and told him to just go home. When we got back into the car, I looked at him and made the decision to go to the ER just in case. He was triaged and in surgery thirty minutes later. He had a stent installed. I don’t remember the exact percentage of blockage he had, but it was pretty bad. If he had gone home, he probably wouldn’t have survived.
24. Taking A Dive
I’m a former lifeguard. You dumb kids drown, I save you. My favorite is the one girl who had a conversation with me about how she didn’t know how to swim, but wanted to jump off the diving board anyway. I said no, and told her to get off the diving board. She jumped in, and I saved her life. You’re welcome, dumb girl, wherever you are.
25. A Terrible Sequence Of Events
One of my roommates in university had a crush on a girl in our friend group who didn’t like him back. They went out drinking one night at a bar and he got hammered, so she brought him back to our place. We offered to walk her home but she insisted she was fine. It was a five-minute walk to her house. Sadly, she was followed home and attacked by two guys along the way.
I still regret not being more insistent on walking her home. While she blamed the two guys, she also blamed my roommate, who also blamed himself. She avoided him after that and he was really depressed about it for months. He was also on antidepressants and in general just a very socially awkward person, so this whole thing really messed him up.
Anyways, one night I’m walking towards the bathroom and his bedroom is beside it, door slightly open. I’m not sure what compelled me, but I decided to pop my head inside and check up on him. Thank god I listened to my gut. I find him lying on the floor on his back, hands crossed against his chest. I mouthed to myself “What the heck?” and, the second I did, he started throwing up.
He had tried to OD on his meds. I quickly rushed over and turned him on his side, while calling the paramedics to check up on him. We never spoke about it, but he confirmed with our other roommate that he was indeed trying to take his own life that night. If I hadn’t popped my head in, he might have been successful at doing so.
26. Taking The Job Description Seriously
Not me, but my son. He got his lifeguard certification and started work at our local pool. On his very first shift, he pulled a drowning kid out. I almost burst with pride. At sixteen, he accomplished something more important than anything I’ve done in my more than fifty years. That was three years ago. He’s done it twice more since then.
27. On Closer Inspection
When I was a student, I was doing a grad school counseling internship in the psych wing of a hospital. A woman came in catatonic with no previous psychiatric history. She languished in the hospital. She could not stand, speak, feed herself, or go to the toilet herself. At one point, I was observing a meeting of the doctors and nurses on the wing.
I remarked to one of the staff: “They should give her an MRI.” A couple of weeks later, walking across the lawn, the director of the psych wing stopped me and said: “Good catch.” I said: “What?” He said: “That woman. We gave her an MRI like you suggested. She had a brain infection.” They treated her successfully and she was sent home. Had it not been caught, it could have been fatal.
28. Something Smells
I was once awake very late at night and noticed a slightly off smell in my DC apartment. I sniffed around. Nothing. I stuck my head out of the window. Nothing. I opened the door to the apartment hallway. Nothing. I still smelled the smell, though, and it had even gotten a tiny bit stronger. Now it was identifiable. It was a very slight smell of smoke.
Where could it be coming from? Finally, I realized that if it wasn’t in my hallway, wasn’t outside, and wasn’t in my apartment, then the only other place it could be coming from was the heating vent. Sure enough, I went to the vent and could smell it strongly. It was coming from the apartment just below mine. I went out of my apartment and headed downstairs.
As soon as I opened the smokeproof, fireproof door to the downstairs hallway, I saw that it was full of smoke. Right away, I went downstairs to the live-in apartment manager. I banged on his door and woke him up. I told him “The third floor is full of smoke!” We went upstairs to the smoky hallway and started banging on each of the apartment doors.
One person after another opened their doors. They were all fine and their apartments were fine. At the last door, nobody answered. My stomach dropped. The manager opened it with his key. As soon as he unlocked the door and cracked it open, a huge billow of smoke poured out. The door was on a lock and chain, meaning it was locked from the inside and occupied.
The landlord looked at me and I nodded to him. He broke the door in. The occupant was sleeping as his apartment filled with smoke. He had probably taken a sleeping pill or was a bit intoxicated. Another hour in that room and his life would have been over. I met him later and told him that he had probably saved my life in a previous incarnation.
I don’t even think he realized how close to disaster he came.
29. On The Wrong Track
I saw someone fall onto the subway tracks in Queens. As soon as I saw them fall, I immediately crossed to that side of the platform, leaned over, and grabbed their arm to pull them up. The person I was with saw me going, followed, and grabbed the person’s other arm. We walked away and finished our conversation, as a woman screamed and called the authorities. The man was a bit tipsy, hence his fall.
30. The Opposite Of Road Rage
I was once in another country, driving down a road late at night in the dark. I saw a young toddler on the sidewalk. He walked into the street and straight in front of our car. I yelled to the driver to stop! We stopped just in time, and I jumped out and grabbed the little toddler. He wasn’t older than two and a half years old at most.
After a moment his mother came out, and then his grandfather. They spoke no English. I motioned that the child was picked up from the street, and the mother burst into tears. I gave her her child and a hug. Had I not grabbed the tiny boy at that moment, he would have wandered over to where the traffic was faster and the cars in the night would certainly not have seen him in time.
31. Tangled Up In Blue
I was once paddleboarding overseas. I came across a kite-surfer tangled in his ropes. He could not even keep his head above water, and his friend who he was surfing with could not get help because he was holding his friend’s head up so he could breathe. I sat down on my paddleboard, grabbed the guy’s leg, and muscled the ropes off of his leg.
The kite was wound around extremely tightly, from his ankle all the way up his leg. It was very difficult to remove. After I freed him, he and his friend were able to get back to shore.
32. Keyboard Warrior
Three strangers on the internet have at various times randomly confessed to me that they were thinking of taking their own lives. I was able to speak to them and give them some helpful perspectives and hugs. I definitely think that in at least one or more of those cases, it made the difference that prevented them from going through with it.
33. His Brother’s Keeper
My brother once came home from work and went to use the bathroom. When he came back, he asked if I wanted to join him for a smoke on the back porch. I said “Sure,” and went to get my shoes while he went out back. When I went to join him, he was laying in the backyard, pale, sweaty and barely conscious. I had to carry him inside, which was no easy feat since he’s taller and heavier.
I put him on the floor in the kitchen and he just circled the drain in front of me. I’m an EMT and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. He went into cardiac arrest right in front of me. I did CPR while the ambulance came. Miraculously, I got a pulse right as they entered the house. It turned out he had used some bad substances earlier that night.
Even though it was a happy ending, the experience really messed me up. It’s been over a year now and I still think about it every day. I can recall every detail like it happened yesterday. I’ve never been the same since it happened. I feel as though a part of me was lost in exchange for my brother’s life.
34. Calling All Cars
My story wasn’t much, really. I work at a convenience store and truck stop. A trucker came in one night complaining of chest pains. His left arm was aching, and he was experiencing shortness of breath. He asked if I could call an ambulance. I did, and the dispatcher talked me through how to keep this man from having a heart attack.
I followed the directions to the letter and, minutes later, EMTs arrived to provide assistance. The guy came back three days later and thanked me profusely. He informed me that my fast action literally saved his life.
35. There’s The Rub
Whenever I visit my sister, it’s kinda tradition that I give her a shoulder massage. One visit a few years back, I was massaging her neck and moved the neck of her t-shirt down a bit. In doing so, I noticed that the large mole on the back of her neck looked different from what I remembered. I told her to get it checked, and luckily she listened.
She’s now got a pretty gnarly scar on her back from the removal process, but everything is good. She’s my favorite person, so I’m really glad we had that routine where I noticed it.
36. Needle In The Haystack
One time, I was getting hay off a friend of the family. He was up in the loft throwing bales down and I was carrying them to my truck. I came back into the barn and he was laying on the ground. Now, he was a silly old man, so I thought he was just lying down as a joke. His hands were placed neatly over his chest. It also sounded like he was making fake snoring sounds.
I just walked by and was like, “Taking a nap?” I casually grabbed another bale of hay and took it to the truck. I came back to get another bale and thought it was weird that he was still on the ground. That’s when I saw it: There was blood coming from his head. Apparently, he had fallen off the loft and hit his head on some farm equipment.
What I had thought were fake play snores was actually his body trying to catch its breath from having the wind knocked out of him. I called for an ambulance. It came, and he had to be flown to a hospital out of the area. He ended up having some brain bleeding, but that was five years ago and he’s doing fine now. If I hadn’t gone into the barn for the hay, there’s no telling how long he would have been laying there for.
His wife still tells people to this day about how I finished loading the hay before calling the ambulance.
37. High Tide
I once rescued my uncle from a rip tide when I was about twelve years old. He was a big guy and I was obviously much smaller, but I was a strong swimmer. More importantly, I knew that you swim parallel to the beach, out of the rip tide, and then back in. He kept trying to swim directly back to shore and eventually became exhausted and yelled for help.
I was lucky that he didn’t force me down when I reached him, which is a very common and unintentional aspect of rescuing people from drowning. They almost don’t know they are doing it. But he mustered enough strength to basically let me tow his floating body away without thrashing or latching on. I swam laterally and then back into shore.
38. One Little Stop On The Way Home
There’s a pool in the basement of my building. On the way to my apartment from the parkade, I have to pass it. One day, I was just making the trek, not really paying attention to my surroundings, when a guy yells out, “I THINK SHE’S DROWNING!” I looked in and my first thought was that she looked like she was doing a breathing exercise. Nevertheless, I decided not to gamble on it.
I don’t remember much of the next fifteen seconds, but I’ve pieced together that, after he said that, I sprinted to the door, scanned my fob, and ran in. I took off towards the deep end of the pool and decided to leave my shoes on and leave my phone in my pocket. I threw off my backpack and sunglasses and jumped in. I touched her and she immediately climbed onto me.
I knew right then and there that she truly was drowning. If you touch a conscious person face down in a pool, they’ll look up at you, think for a second, and react. She did not look up, she did not think, she climbed. I had recently read on Reddit that the reflex to climb anything you possibly can is a thing that drowning people experience.
Fortunately, the pool was only up to my neck, or I’d have fallen down from the weight of the climb. I pulled her to the edge and got her to grab hold of it. She was breathing. I pulled myself up to take a seat on the edge of the pool and, among my deepest shames, I pulled out my phone to turn it off to minimize the water damage.
After I put it back in my pocket, the guy who was there and I pulled her out the rest of the way. I told them to get her to contact a hospital about the possibility of dry drowning. I then picked up my stuff and went up to my apartment. I got into the shower after the pool and then just cried and cried and cried. This lasted about an hour.
It was one of the scariest moments of my life despite the fact that I was never in harm’s way. But I would do it again in an instant.
39. Answering The Call
I don’t know if this counts, but last week my friend attempted to take his own life while he was on the phone with me. As soon as I realized this, I called his parents before he could do enough to go through with it. His parents then took him to the hospital. I know what would have happened if I hadn’t picked up the phone to call, and it frightens me so much that I may not be there next time.
40. Don’t Have A Cow, Man
My boyfriend and I were helping a cow give birth in the general barn area. Normally, we put the cow who’s going to give birth in a separate area. It was quite difficult, as there was some blood and what not like there usually is. But another cow somehow observed the events, reacted really violently, ran over my boyfriend, and started to trample him.
It was really terrifying but I was able to drive the cow off thankfully, possibly saving my boyfriend’s life. When all was said and done, he had suffered a concussion and a few broken teeth and ribs, but overall he recovered fine. It was a huge pain in the butt to get to go to the ER though! Being a farmer is so much fun, am I right?
41. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again
I saved the same guy’s life twice. The first time, he had built an igloo out of a mound of snow, only for the snow to cave in on top of him. I helped pull him out. Then, the second time, we were snowshoeing in a bush and went to cross a river. As he entered the river, he quickly realized that it was far colder than he had thought and that his body was about to freeze up.
I managed to carry him across as quickly as I could before the temperature seriously affected my body. Both times, he didn’t want me to tell his parents. I later heard that the same guy had broken his neck while snowboarding, and survived with no issues. I’m not sure if I should consider this person the least lucky guy I know, or the luckiest since he keeps managing to survive…
42. Keep On Trucking
I once saved a woman from walking in front of a left-turning refrigeration truck. We were walking in opposite directions and I noticed a truck on my left going a little too fast to make a turn into an alley. I had made it out of the way already, so I had no worries for myself. But the woman didn’t see or hear it was coming because she had headphones on.
I noticed she turned her head to the left too, and I knew she wasn’t gonna see it coming. As she was about to step in the way of the truck, I put two and two together in time to grab her arm before fully taking on the truck. Luckily, it was just enough for her to not get hit head-on, but enough for her to bump and roll off the side. I waved and gave her a heads up signal before heading home.
I never told a soul. I guess now I have, though.
43. He Came Prepared
Pretty close to my house, there are these swimming pool type things that are filled by the beach and full of sand, but aren’t actually connected most of the time. Kind of like a lagoon made out of concrete. So anyway, there I was one day walking around on the little concrete path that takes you to the deep side of the pool.
I saw a little kid just kinda sitting at the bottom of the pool. I thought it was kind of weird, so I stood there for probably five seconds or so, waiting to see some kind of movement. But he just kept sitting there and I suddenly realized what I was seeing: This kid was drowning. So I jumped into the water and dragged him up onto the beach.
He wasn’t breathing and was unresponsive. Luckily, I had been in this program called Little Nippers for most of my childhood. It’s basically a program to teach beach safety run by volunteers at my local surf lifesaving club. Thanks to being in this group, I had been taught CPR refreshers pretty often. It also didn’t hurt that my mum was a nurse and always wanted me to know it for a moment like this.
So I did CPR and rescue breaths for about forty seconds on this probably five-year-old kid while someone went to grab the actual lifeguards. Eventually, he just started to cough up a bunch of water and became responsive again. It was a super weird experience for a 15-year-old kid, but it has made me passionately feel that everyone should know CPR and basic first aid.
I’ve never needed it again in the last eight years, but I’m very glad I knew it that day. And that’s all there was to it. So if there’s an Austin from Newcastle out there who almost drowned in 2012, I hope you’re doing okay buddy!
44. Instant Karma
I was driving to pick up my husband from the airport and I decided to jump on the express lanes since there was traffic. The express lanes were empty until some Jetta comes zooming towards me trying to race me. I drive a basic Subaru WRX, so I of course ignore him and keep looking straight ahead. Then, he proceeds to flip me off and call me a bunch of offensive slurs.
Somehow, in the process of harassing me, he lost control of his vehicle. His car flipped sideways and slid onto the Jersey barrier, before finally going back down again. I really wanted to drive off because he was such a jerk, but I pulled over to the shoulder to try and assist him. First off, this guy is shaking with spit coming out his mouth and his car is not running.
Another thing, it’s freaking 98 degrees outside and east coast humidity, so I had to get him out. I was on the phone with paramedics as I was trying to break open a window to get him out of his car so that he wouldn’t suffer some kind of heat injury. I break open the window with the mini jack from my spare tire kit, since the driver’s side is blocked by the wall and the passenger door is shut.
I grabbed him and pulled him towards the window. Luckily, I have a 36 ounce reusable cup filled with ice water, and a piece of junk mail I had in my car. I’m pouring water and fanning his face, keeping him conscious until the ambulance arrives. It took about thirty minutes or so since it was rush hour traffic. If I had decided to just leave the dude on the road as I initially wanted to, he would have suffered badly and probably not survived based on what the EMTs told me.
45. It’s The Little Things That Count
This isn’t exactly the most glamorous story, nor was it much of an effort for me. But, nevertheless, I was sleeping in my friend’s crummy basement one time and one of our other friends got way too intoxicated. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of him choking on his own vomit. I promptly told the guy on the bottom bunk to tip him over, and then I went back to sleep.
Did I really save his life? Yes. But am I really a hero? Also yes.
46. Dog Days
Do little dogs count? I was going to pick my brother up from community college one time. It was getting late, and was getting towards dusk. I’d turned off the freeway onto the busy four-lane road towards the college, thinking of nothing much as I waited for the lights and the moderate amount of traffic to let me through. That was when it all happened.
Out of the corner of my eye, sprinting along the sidewalk, I saw a small shape seemingly offwhite in the fading light. The shape appeared to be running along. Immediately after the shape was a kid, maybe ten years old and sprinting as fast as he could, but not fast enough. They were going at an angle, straight for a side road I could take a right on just up ahead, and aiming for going right across it.
It took a half-second for me to process what I had seen, and another to wonder how to react. But the turning lane onto the right was clear and I sped up. The entire road was in shadow and the sun was sinking visibly below the hills. As I turned, I saw the tiny shape, clearly a curly-haired dog, sprinting straight down a wide road in the middle of a slightly busy suburban shopping area.
The kid wasn’t even close to catching up, so I took off and shadowed the dog, my headlights on and just close enough behind it to see it and be safe. Other cars were coming down the road, both ways. I ended up swerving madly around a middle turn lane to try and get them to veer off, and thankfully the handful of cars did.
Even more thankfully, the dog turned down a quiet side road lined only by houses. This time, I sped up to get ahead of it and cut it off. But it stopped quickly to smell something. I started to turn around when the boy, and then his family, caught up and managed to capture the runaway. They thanked me through the window of my car, and gestured that I could come in closer.
But I was already late picking my brother up and my phone had gotten two notifications during the chase. So I waved at them and went back on my way.
47. The Beach Boys
I was in Hong Kong on business, so my colleague and I went to Repulse Bay. We met up with some girls we had previously met. We drank all day on the beach, hung out, made new friends, and had a great time all around. We were all hitting a volleyball around when a guy around our age, in his early twenties, comes up to us with his voice in a panic.
He shouts that his friend is buried and that they can’t get him out of the sand. I immediately thought this was some kind of a prank, but we still went over to check things out. When we got over to the kid, literally all you could see was an arm sticking out of the sand. We tried pulling it and all you could hear was a muffled scream.
When we realized what was going on and tried to get closer, the sand caved in and the arm began frantically waving in a panic. Immediately, I started digging in the sand with four other people to find this kid’s head. And then I found it and we dug a small air pocket around his mouth. After about five minutes of carefully digging and pulling, we successfully pulled him out.
The beach was completely empty aside from us and it was getting pitch black out. Kind of crazy that I saved some random kid’s life in Hong Kong.
48. Drinking Problems
I was at Camp Lejeune, in the field doing all this military training for circumstances we were never actually in. It was late in June and it was something like 99 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the 90s as well since Lejeune is essentially a gigantic swamp. Hydration was always important. Now, the guys in my squad of engineers were great, never had any issues from them.
But we got downrange doing a “dry run,” with no blanks or ammo of any sort, and my guys and myself had done our part and were running to the rendezvous point. Now, just for perspective, we were doing this with weapons and stuff, like the sixty-ish pound flak jacket with all four ceramic plates that were no less than like sixty pounds, assorted packs, and whatever.
So most guys were working with at least eighty to a hundred pounds of gear on them. As we’re running, I hear some shouting of “Corpsman! Corpsman! Doc!” and I’m just thinking “Darn it, we’re really gonna have a mock casualty now?” Nope, the kid was stumbling around, had no idea what the heck he was doing or where he was. His pupils were about the size of the tip of a pen.
So, I do my thing, pull all his stuff off, place ice packs in his armpits and groin area, provide water to cool him down, etc. While all of this was going on, I was shouting instructions to the marines in my squad in dealing with another heat case who was considerably less severe. I took his gear, gave him a camelbak and ice packs, and he was able to walk back to the staging area.
That was actually the first time since I’d gotten to Lejeune that I really had to take charge and handle multiple problems at once. I was very pleased with how well my marines did in helping me manage everything. Once everything was done and over with, we found out that he had had a temperature of over 103 degrees Fahrenheit and that, had we not intervened, it would have escalated to heat stroke and he probably would have lost his life.
So remember kids, HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!
49. Front Float
I was a lifeguard at a lake. There was a mom with a baby and a toddler, and the mom had a friend with her. She was sitting in the shallow water with her newborn, talking to her friend and facing away from the water toward the beach. I had an eye on her toddler because it was driving me nuts that she wasn’t paying attention to him.
He dropped his ball and the small waves started taking it out. Of course, he reached for it and fell over. He slowly started floating and struggling, face down, getting father and farther away. I jumped down, ran in and grabbed him, and probably terrified him as I patted his back over my knee while he vomited out water.
The poor kid kept trying to look at me. His mom noticed nothing until I was carrying him back over to her. She casually thanked me and I tried to warn her of the possibility of dry drowning. Her response made me so mad I wanted to scream. She snapped at me, yelling that she was a nurse and that her son would be fine. I saved her son’s life, and she repaid me by yelling in my face.
50. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
I heard a faint domestic fire alarm one night that wouldn’t quit. So I walked down the street to identify where the alarm was coming from. I knocked on the door but there was no answer. I couldn’t smell smoke or feel heat coming from the door, but I decided to call the fire brigade just in case. They arrived pretty quickly and I pointed out which unit the alarm was coming from.
They walked up to the door, then ran back to the truck to grab a door-banging-opening thingo and the hose reels. Next thing I know, all this smoke is pouring out the front door and they’re carrying an old lady down the stairs. Then, another firefighter emerged carrying the lady’s cat. Turns out she had turned on the stove to cook dinner but fell asleep.
The unit was filled with smoke and she would have asphyxiated, but both she and the kitty survived. She wrote me a lovely note thanking me, which was very nice of her. The moral of the story is to always pay attention to noises and things that seem out of place. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it always makes a difference when we look after each other.