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A stranger jumped into action when a 92-year-old started to be dragged by a car

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain. "My Unsung Hero" tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. And today's story comes from Ben Gomes. A few years ago, Gomes received an upsetting call at work. The caller told him that his 92-year-old mother was being rushed to the hospital after she had been dragged by a car in the street. Well, he raced to the hospital to see her.

BEN GOMES: I have to admit, I was terrified of what might have happened to her. I feared that she might have been really severely injured. She is an old lady and quite fragile to begin with, so the notion that she might be dragged by a car was just completely horrifying to me. And it seems that what had happened was that, you know, she used to get a ride from volunteer drivers who would take her to the senior center, and the driver had dropped her off. And she was wearing this jacket that had long pull strings at the bottom of the jacket, and as she closed the door, one of the pull strings from the jacket got caught in the door. And so the car started driving away and she started running alongside the car, knocking on the door - on the window of the car to try and get the driver's attention. And he continued driving, and she could neither extract the jacket string nor could she stop the car.

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And at that point, it seems like somebody saw her from across the street and ran across the street, got in front of the car and banged on the hood of the car to stop the driver. And she fell at this point, and I guess that's what caused her to break a hip. You know, a broken hip is no joke, but I'm so incredibly grateful that I was not greeted by the sight that I so feared when I went to the hospital. I can't bear to think of, like, how that would have even come to an end. It's just too horrifying for me to think of.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GOMES: I am just so incredibly grateful to this person for what they did. We say words like thank you all the time, to the point where they don't necessarily encompass what this kind of gratitude might mean. But I don't know if I'd have better words to say than thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for my mother and for what you did for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHANG: Ben Gomes lives in Palo Alto, Calif. His mom recently celebrated her 96th birthday with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You can find more stories like this one on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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