We all have the potential to be heroes, if the situation strikes. To do something truly great and brave, all you need to do is listen to your gut and never hesitate in the face of danger. While that may seem like a special gift, everyone is capable.
One construction worker found this out when, on a typical day at work, something didn’t feel quite right to him. Following his instincts, the man acted quickly, putting himself in the middle of a crime-in-progress…
July 17, 2017, started out like any normal day for a construction worker named Colin Blevin from Santa Clara, California. He arrived at his job at Ciarra Construction promptly at 7 a.m., but as soon he arrived, suspicion struck…
There, blocking the entrance to the construction firm’s lot, was a man named Raymond Randy Gutierrez. Colin knew all of the employees at the company and this man wasn’t one of them. So, what exactly was he doing there?
Colin noticed that the man had an awkward gait and was muttering to himself. Something about this guy wasn’t right, Colin could feel it. It seemed like he was under the influence of drugs, but Colin slowly approached him anyway.
Colin didn’t plan on confronting Raymond. He just needed him to move his car, a 1992 white Honda Accord, so he could get into the lot. But even before saying anything, Colin noticed something unusual about the man’s vehicle…
The back door of the Accord was cracked open, and inside was a baby! Alarm bells immediately went off in Colin’s head. Even though he didn’t know Raymond he had a strong inkling the baby didn’t belong to him.
Raymond was jittery and disheveled, but the baby looked well cared for. Something about this whole situation wasn’t sitting right with Colin, and as soon as the man moved the car, he did something that left the construction worker in shock…
To Colin’s complete disbelief, the man moved his car, immediately got out of it, and he started breaking into another car, right in front of Colin! As Colin was watching in awe, a woman named Mamas Ramirez approached him and said something horrifying…
She told Colin the drug-addled man knocked on her RV door not long before Colin arrived at work and tried to pawn the child off on her!
Colin had a daughter of his own, and he knew that this baby’s family was probably worried sick. Colin approached Raymond and demanded answers.
“Is this your baby?” Colin forcefully asked. Raymond said no, and told Colin the person who let him borrow the vehicle accidentally left the child in the backseat. Colin knew Raymond was lying, but what actually happened?
Colin grabbed the baby out of the back seat and told Raymond he was calling the police. Raymond was guilty of several crimes, so it wasn’t surprising when he jumped back in the white Accord and fled. But, it wouldn’t be long before Raymond was nabbed and the truth came out.
Police tracked Raymond down and arrested him. As it turned out, Raymond was a 43-year-old homeless man who had a reputation around the area for causing trouble. How exactly did he get his hands on a child in the first place?
Apparently, the rightful owner of the Honda Accord left his car running for mere minutes right outside his home when Raymond struck. He jumped in the car and drove off, taking the innocent child along for the ride.
When Soledad police finally spoke to Colin about the situation, they told him an AMBER Alert had been out for the child for several hours before Colin found him.
Colin was stunned; he had no idea that the situation was already on the officers’ radar! But believe it or not, that wasn’t even the craziest part of the whole incident…
That morning, Colin was suffering from a sore hip, and he almost didn’t go into work so he could rest. However, he had too much to do, and for that reason alone, he was able to save a life.
After a thorough medical checkup, the eight-month-old infant was returned to his family. The Department of Justice awarded Colin the Missing Children’s Citizen Award for his intuition and quick thinking. He fully deserved the praise.
Colin Blevin was in the right place at the right time that day. As a father, he hoped if his kid was missing, other members of the community would keep a watchful eye to help bring a child home, even if that required some creative thinking.
The realization that it could have been his daughter, his family, facing the same worry and fear in an instant made him hug her a little tighter. In the mundane moments, like being a few minutes late for school bus pickup, disaster can strike.
As you send your 6-year-old off to school, watching the youngin’ hop on the yellow school bus, the sight undoubtedly comes with a load of nerves. But as a parent, these little milestones are important to savor, no matter how scary… right?
You hope your child has a day filled with learning, laughs, fun, and, most importantly, safety. When the Haus family patiently awaited their young son Ethan’s return home from school, it never happened. Understandably, panic ensued.
Little did his family know, Ethan ran off with his dog Remmie after the school bus dropped him off near their house in Becker. He just wanted to play with his best bud, having no idea what trouble that would cause.
Since Ethan wandered off without notifying an adult, his parents imagined every horrible thing that could’ve possibly gone wrong when he didn’t show his precious face at home that late afternoon. Was he abducted? Hit by a car?
The Haus family called the police, which led the sheriff’s office to spread the word regarding Ethan’s disappearance. The community wouldn’t let the Hauses down; they were going to find their son.
Amazingly, more than 600 people from the Becker area gathered to search for little Ethan. With a group of volunteers this large, they’d surely find the boy and his pup in no time. It wasn’t going to be easy, however.
While the search party did everything they could, searching far and wide, high and low, local photographer Steve Fines had a more strategic and high-tech method for locating the little one.
In his collection of equipment, the professional photographer had a fancy-schmancy drone with a thermal camera that he figured would help tackle the search from an aerial perspective. He just needed to know which direction to point the drone in.
About eight hours after Ethan went missing, volunteers finally spotted some tiny footprints, which were suspected to belong to the 6-year-old. With that, Steve knew which direction to focus his drone on, determined to find the boy and mutt duo.
After 10 long hours of fiercely searching for the boy, Fines eventually spotted something with his drone that appeared to be the outlines of Ethan and Remmie. “I had seen the shape… that I thought was the child and dog,” Fines explained to KARE 11.
“It didn’t look like a deer. It didn’t look like anything else. Then the deputy sent out the ground crew to see what it was,” Fines said. At the time, Fines was pretty confident that the frenzied search was about to end.
Eureka! They found him. Ethan was found in a corn field a little over a mile away from his house at 1:50 AM. It’s a bit too reminiscent of 1984’s Children of the Corn if you ask us!
Children of the Corn
The temperature was already dropping down to the 30s by the time the group found Ethan and his dog. Though he was a bit cold, lying on the chilled ground of the corn field and all, paramedics said he was fine.
“Six years old, lost out in the fields. It’s 30 degrees. You can’t not do something,” Fines said to KARE 11. Though Fines received a ton of praise for his quick investigating skills, he didn’t want to take all of the credit.
St. Cloud Times
“While I was running the camera that found him and some of the news stories have focused on that, I only knew in which direction to look because volunteers on the ground had found a footprint,” Fines wrote on Facebook.
“I knew which areas had already been searched because of the excellent coordination. I had other volunteers running radios to coordinate ground search parties – people moving across really rough ground to find him,” he continued.
While we’re sure no one was happier and more relieved than the Haus family, Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott was elated by the turnout of volunteers that aided in the rescue of little Ethan Haus.
St. Cloud Times
“This truly was the epitome of the community caring for its own. To see the outpouring of support in such a short time to come help find this boy and his dog is heartwarming,” said Sheriff Joel Brott.
As for Ethan? “(It was) a little bit (scary),” he said. Thankfully, this story had a blissful ending. The Haus family got their son and dog back happy and healthy. We’re sure they haven’t yet released little Ethan from a giant hug.
Ethan was thankful for his rescue, though he knew it could’ve been much worse for him. He’d heard stories about children who were lost in the woods, and there, drones couldn’t spot them. What would he have done then?
Well, if he was anything like four-year-old Karina Chikitova, he’d have been all right. She lived in a remote Siberian village in the far east region called The Sakha Republic. There, she shared a small home with her father, mother, grandmother, and her dog, Naida.
Like most kids her age, Karina was energized by a youthful curiosity, that urge to explore and know and understand. Which was why, in July 2014, she followed her father, Rodion, on an expedition into a part of the Siberian wilderness also known as the taiga.
Now this decision was problematic for a few different reasons. The first reason being that the taiga is very much an animal kingdom, dominated by bears, tigers, and wolves with really sharp teeth and an appetite for people.
The second problem with Karina’s decision was that she had not told her grandmother — the person charged with watching her at the time — that she would be following her dad into the bear-infested wilderness.
In fact, she hadn’t even told her dad that she would be following him. So literally no one on the planet knew that this four-year-old girl was diving headstrong into the most dangerous territory on the planet. No person, at least.
Karina did have a companion at her side: Naida, the family dog. That, evidently, was all the comfort the little girl needed, but it was little comfort to her mother, Talina, when she realized her little girl and the dog were both missing.
At first, Talina figured her youngster and the dog followed Rodion to his native village, but Siberia wasn’t exactly flooded with quality LTE, so she couldn’t pull out a cellphone and check. Instead she waited to hear from her husband.
In the meantime, Karina, followed her father until she somehow managed to lose his trail. Her dad disappeared from view leaving her very much stranded in Siberia with Naida. And the bears. And the wolves.
It took four days of waiting for mother Talina to learn that, no, her daughter was not with her husband in his home village. No stranger to Siberia, she understood this to be a very bad thing, so she alerted authorities.
Radio Free Europe
They deployed a 100-person rescue team to head out into Siberian wilds to find her. The team carried rifles to fend off bears (yeah, there were that many bears in the woods).
Helicopters sliced the sky and rescue workers on foot combed through the trees and tall grass, but their search proved fruitless: Karina was nowhere to be seen. But then, nine days after she went missing, authorities found a clue.
More specifically, a clue walked right up to the authorities and introduced herself. Naida returned to her home — but Karina was not with her! What should’ve been a hopeful moment only seemed to confirm Talina’s worst thoughts.
“If she was to hug her puppy,” Talina said, “we thought, ‘this would have given her a chance to…survive.’ So when her dog came back we thought ‘that’s it.’ Even if she was alive — and chances were slim — now she would have definitely have lost all hope.”
But Naida hadn’t just wandered absentmindedly home. She seemed eager to show the desperate family and the rescue crew something important. The dog headed the group of rescuers and led them into the wilderness…
The dog led authorities to a spot in the wilderness, but none of them saw Karina there. Naida, it seemed, couldn’t find the exact area where she’d left the little girl! Authorities wondered if they were anywhere near her at all.
But three days later — 12 days after Karina first went missing — rescue workers spotted a child-sized footprint on a river bed beside a dog’s paw print. The footprint revealed Karina was barefoot, a crucial detail for investigators.
This told rescue workers that Karina likely was not in the woods. Too many sharp sticks there would’ve been a nightmare on her feet. This narrowed their search down considerably, and the following morning, they executed that new search plan.
And sure enough, just 20 meters from where they started searching, one rescue worker noticed a peculiar lump tucked away in a patch of tall grass. The whole crew rushed over.
They found her nestled in the grass. She was starving, thirsty, exhausted, and covered in mosquito bites, but nevertheless alive. They brought her tea before carrying her to a car and whisking her away to the nearest hospital.
The child spent some time in the hospital, but physicians determined there wouldn’t be any lasting damage. A psychologist examined her mental state and found, shockingly, her mind was in a good place. Talk about mental fortitude.
So how did a four-year-old girl survive in the Siberian wilderness? The little girl told reporters and her family that she survived off wild berries and river water.
Then, of course, there was Naida, the lovable canine that gave her warmth at night and companionship in the daytime. The two reunited for the first time back at home when the hospital released Karina. The meeting did not go as expected.
When Karina first saw her dog, she looked her in the eyes and chided, “why did you leave me?” Those three days of solitude must’ve really affected the little girl. But eventually, she came to understand what the dog did for her.
“It was Naida who rescued me,” Karina said sometime later. “I was really, really scared. But when we were going to sleep I hugged her, and together we were warm.”
Karina’s story gripped everyone watching, and locals even erected a statue of the girl and her pooch to celebrate their strength and will to survive. Not bad for a four-year-old and her dog, huh?
In the end, Karina made a full recovery, and by 2018, attended a ballet boarding school 350 miles away from the village she’d wandered away from all those years ago. Her teachers believed she had the talent to compete in Russia’s competitive ballet scene.
“When she just started her classes, Karina was very reserved,” a boarding school leader said. “She has changed so much and became a lot more open, sociable, friendly and independent. She made many friends who love her lots.”
But even as she danced like an expert and earned friends with her exuberant personality, she would never forget the friend that made it all possible: Naida, the loyal canine.
Thanks to an abundance of technologies and other people, we can easily pinpoint our exact locations. In this day and age, it’s hard to get truly lost, though some places, like rural Siberia, are not-so WiFi-rich.
15 year old Svetlana Evai lived her entire life in the Gydan Peninsula, a frigid place in northern Siberia. Svetlana dreamed of a life outside of the continuous routine with her family.
Like many others, she and her family herded reindeer to make a living. Though not the most exciting profession, shepherding instilled Svetlana with deep confidence when it came to navigating Siberia’s rough terrain.
While she was stuck at home, Svetlana wished she were with her brother. He spent the summer at a different camp some distance away, presumably living it up and having all the fun Svetlana wasn’t allowed to have.
The Siberian Times
But of course, he wasn’t that far away — just four miles. Svetlana figured she could make that journey in no time at all and that whatever her brother was up to had to be more exciting than sitting around with her family and some reindeer.
Flickr / wowbagger0420
So Svetlana set off to visit her brother. She was traveling alone and without any kind of navigation aids, but she wasn’t worried. She knew the terrain like the back of her hand, so surely going a bit further wouldn’t pose a problem.
Yamal Peninsula Travel
Several hours passed, and Svetlana started to panic. She should have made it to her brother by now, and yet she stood in the middle of the wilderness, with no people or buildings in sight. She began to feel dizzy.
Flickr / Lady Fiszi
Meanwhile, her family back home grew concerned. Svetlana had never gone out alone for such a long time. Her Uncle Ivan, knowing that time was precious, organized a search party of family members and neighbors. They had to find her.
But Ivan understood the vast scope of the Siberian region. They could surmise the rough direction in which Svetlana had headed, but that knowledge only went so far: she could’ve gotten lost and switched to any other heading.
Gydan Nature Reserve
And that was precisely what had happened. After a rough night out on the tundra, Svetlana couldn’t make heads or tails of where she was. Before she could head back home, however, another issue pressed on her mind: survival.
Svetlana felt certain help was on the way, but realized it could be a while until anyone arrived. With a bit of luck, she located some cloudberries. They were half-frozen and unripe, but they were food.
Flickr / Eero Sarkkinen
As more time passed, Svetlana kept moving. She continuously looked over her shoulder, for she knew dangerous beasts lived out on the tundra. Arctic wolves would usually go after stray reindeer, but they would gladly accept a lost girl as their meal.
Flickr / Safi Kok
Night fell again and again. Although daytime temperatures could sometimes reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the night air dropped far below freezing. Svetlana shivered herself to sleep as she fought to stay alive.
Flickr / hpaich
Svetlana grew so weak that she could no longer walk. Nevertheless, the will to survive kept her going. Praying that some help would arrive soon, she began to crawl on her hands and knees. She didn’t have much time left.
Her Uncle Ivan continued the search, but there wasn’t any trace of Svetlana, who went missing over two weeks before. He had spotted some brown bears, though. Could a bear have hunted her down and dragged her off to its den?
Flickr / John Solaro
Dismayed, Ivan walked around an area just seven miles from their home. Then, without warning, he spotted a figure on the horizon. It ambled toward him. Without thinking, he ran towards the shape and hoped for a miracle.
Flickr / Brendan Ó Sé
It was Svetlana! Though her body was battered and bruised and she was emotionally spent, somehow, she stayed alive. Ivan resisted the urge to scold her for acting so foolishly and arranged for a physician to examine his niece.
The Siberian Times
Living in such a remote part of the Gydan Peninsula, Svetlana did not have access to a full medical staff in the immediate vicinity of her home. A helicopter arrived to carry her to a hospital. Once aboard, she shared her incredible story.
Nobody could quite believe how Svetlana scraped together the bare essentials out in the wilderness. Though still just a girl, she managed to evade the tundra’s many hazards while knowing how to take advantage of its biggest asset: plenty of fresh water.
The Siberian Times
Amazingly, Svetlana seemed pretty healthy. Though she had no shelter and barely any food over the course of two weeks, her vitals were pretty steady. Doctors found no sign that her life was in danger.
But just as a precaution, Svetlana’s family kept her in the hospital in Tazovsky to fully recuperate. They gave thanks that she survived such an ordeal and hoped that after her harrowing adventure, Svetlana wouldn’t mind spending time at home again.