This woman was trapped in her pool—until online strangers came to her rescue

August 24, 2017 4:28 pm Last Updated: August 24, 2017 4:28 pm


For 61-year-old Leslie Kahn, a teacher from Epping, New Hampshire, there’s no way to spend a day off like taking a dip in the pool.

“I swim as often as possible every summer,” Leslie told CBS Boston.

(CBS Boston/Screenshot)

But on August 11th, her relaxing daily swim became an unexpected ordeal.

When trying to exit the pool, the ladder broke. Stuck, she tried to climb over the edge—but just couldn’t make it.

“Without something for my feet to get leverage on and without that upper body strength, it wasn’t happening,” she explained to WMUR.

“I don’t have the agility or the upper body strength that I used to,” she added to CBS.

(CBS Boston/Screenshot)

Leslie needed help, but that was another problem: there was no one around, and she had left her phone inside the house.

“I was thinking I might be here a while,” she told CBS.

But then, Leslie came up with a plan. She remembered she had taken her iPad outside to read, and it was sitting on a deck chair—just outside her grasp. So she used a pool cleaning pole to bring it closer.

(CBS Boston/Screenshot)

“I got the trusty pool pole, dragged the leg of the chair, dragged it over [and] got the iPad,” she explained to WMUR.

The iPad couldn’t make calls, but did have internet connection. So she did the next best thing.

She posted in a local Facebook group asking for help.

Leslie is a member of the Epping Squawks group, a Facebook page for people in the community. Hoping to reach someone nearby, she chose the page for her distress signal:

Within minutes, people started replying. They initially offered to call the cops, but Leslie wasn’t looking to bother the emergency services (the “911” was just an attention-grabber).

“I just need a screwdriver and someone to pull the ladder up so i can swap the steps,” she wrote.

One woman, Tracie Wilkins, chimed in with her support. “I just saw this. Do you still need help?” She did, and Tracie was the first to arrive on the scene.

“I was really glad to see her friendly face, and I sent her inside for the toolbox,” Leslie told WMUR.

(Facebook/Epping Squawks)

But apparently, someone in the group had already called 911. 

“And then the police came, and then a neighbor came from up the street because he’d seen the police,” she added.

After all these strangers rallied to Leslie’s aid, they got to work—without much initial success.

“Every idea we thought of didn’t work,” Leslie told CBS. Fixing the ladder didn’t work, and neither did putting a chair in the pool for support. 

They were out of luck—until somebody spotted a step ladder leaning on the side of the house, and placed it in the pool.

(CBS Boston/Screenshot)

Finally, Leslie was able to get out of the pool “I just climbed out,” she told CBS. “Happily ever after at that point.”

Leslie was incredibly thankful for the online strangers who helped her out…but it didn’t end there.

After the story was reported, a Massachusetts woman apparently saw the story—and anonymously sent Leslie a replacement pool ladder.

“My silly story keeps spreading, and I’ve had a lot of kind words,” Leslie wrote. “Thanks, Epping!”

It’s an inspiring story about the positive power of social media. But for Leslie, who is also a breast cancer survivor, it reaffirmed what she already knew: that you can always rely on the kindness of strangers.

“You get through whatever life throws at you, and you ask for help,” Leslie told WMUR. “And be prepared to help others.”

“That’s the way life is supposed to work. That’s the way community is supposed to work. And in my experience, it does.”

And also, sometimes, you just gotta laugh.

“People keep saying, ‘I bet you can laugh about it now,’” she told CBS.

“I was laughing about it then. What else can you do?”