Given how technologically advanced society has become, it’s easy to feel as if the elements have been truly conquered and no longer pose a threat to us. But this can sometimes be a deadly mistake—the weather is still a primal, life-threatening force.
Unfortunately for one couple, that lesson almost cost them their life.
A quick stroll to the store turned dangerous for one elderly couple.
Bernard Sandler and Lori Saunders have been married for 57 years. On January 9th, they were walking from their home to a local store in Montecito, CA. It had just rained, however, and conditions were growing worse due to a river runoff that had coated the area in mud.
Still, the elderly couple required their medication and felt sure they would be able to make it through the conditions.
But that proved to be a nearly deadly mistake.
As they walked further and further, their steps became more and more difficult—the mud was getting deeper and thicker, even up to their knees, making it impossible to move. It finally came to a point where they were unable to lift their legs to walk at all.
“I didn’t think we were going to make it, and it was the last day of our lives, and we were going to die like this,” Sandler said according to KEYT News.
They struggled for two hours, but nothing they did could free themselves.
There was nothing the couple could do. They were trapped. Even worse, helicopters relief efforts could be seen around them, but no one seemed to notice their predicament—rescue was so close, but so far away.
“I started screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘Help, help!'” Sandler said according to KEYT News.
Unfortunately, no one seemed to hear them.
They were almost out of hope and energy when someone finally noticed their pleas for help. It was 27-year-old construction worker, Angel Beltran.
“I will come and get you,” Sandler remembered Beltran saying according to KEYT News. “You will be okay.”
Beltran used a backhoe to pull the couple from the mud.
Beltran spent an hour struggling to wade through the thick mud to reach them. When he finally did, he made sure they were safe and formulated a plan—to use a backhoe to lift the beleaguered couple from the mud.
“He put me in the skip loader,” Saunders said according to KEYT News. “He put his arm around me and said ‘You’re okay’, and then I lost it because I was so scared.”
Eventually, the two were safe indoors and incredibly thankful to this kind stranger. Beltran wanted no reward, but the couple insisted they go out for dinner.
In thanks for his assistance in saving their lives, Sandler and Saunders promised they would always support and help him pursue his life goals as best they could.
“He risked his life to save our life,” Sandler said according to KEYT News. “He is a true hero.”