Traditionally, teenagers expect the elderly to tell them to get off of their lawn, but this man told them to break down the door and save his life. Four teens, Coby, Marcello, Jerry, and Rebecca, were trying to earn some pocket money by shoveling snow from walkways and driveways in their local neighborhood in Colorado. In their door-to-door endeavors, one homeowner met their knocks on the door with a plea for help. This homeowner was an elderly man who had fallen to the ground inside of his home several days ago and was unable to get up on his own.
By chance, the man’s home was the last to which they were offering their shoveling service that evening. While Marcello, Jerry, and Rebecca waited in their truck, Coby went up to the door. “I heard someone yelling, but it was faint. He told me to come in and break the door down and help,” said Coby. After that, Coby ran back to the truck, and he explained to his friends what he’d heard. Wanting to keep the man’s door intact and lacking the medical knowledge of how to help the man if one of them did break down the door, Jerry dialed 911 immediately.
The teens decided to wait with the elderly man for the ambulance to arrive. Coby, in particular, kept up conversation with the man through the door while waiting for the ambulance. He said he wanted to keep the man talking because he “wanted to make sure [the man] stayed awake.” Coby added that the man “didn’t look good at all,” and Zach Hill of the local fire department agreed, saying, “You could clearly see [the man] was in pain.”
In those initial moments after coming across this man, Coby remembered that he “felt worthless” because he couldn’t get into the man’s house to help him right then and there, but the first responders felt quite the opposite. Hill noted that the first responders don’t know how long the man would have been in need of assistance in his home if the teens had not been at his door when they were, saying “they had a huge part in getting him help.” Once they arrived, they were able to rush the man to the hospital.
After the teens got this man the help he needed, they “We wanted to make sure he came home to a clean driveway.”
Perhaps the most moving part of the story was the lack of choice that these teens felt they had when it came to helping this stranger in need. Rebecca remembered being overwhelmed with emotion, claiming that “[she] was in shock.” Coby felt similarly, saying “I just went into adrenaline mode and I needed to help him.” Though their calling 911 might seem commonplace, keeping the man company and cleaning up his driveway for free demonstrate that the motivation to help this man was more than a mere obligation or civic duty. They were actions that came from the heart.
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