A woman whose Mini Cooper got stuck on the flooded streets of Virginia filmed a group of uniformed Marines as they pushed her car to safety in the rain. She later shared the footage on TikTok, where it amassed over 4 million views.
Artist Virginia Waller-Torres ran into trouble outside Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 16, amid a flash flood warning. Luckily for her, a group of Marine Corps Body Bearers that was leaving a 3 p.m. funeral service rushed to her aid.
In the video, posted to Waller-Torres’s TikTok channel, six Marines can be seen wading through knee-high water to reach her car. One knocks on the window and instructs the driver to “put the car in neutral” before the group congregates at the rear of the car to push it past their bus, and on through an overpass.
“Marine power!” Waller-Torres is heard saying. “This is the most American thing ever!”
According to Corporal Mitchell Wojtowicz, who was at the scene, helping others is at the core of the Marines’ ethos. “We were the right ones for the job and hopped out without hesitation,” he told Fox 5 DC.
Corporal Jared Tosner weighed in, saying the Marines were “just trying to do the right thing when no one was watching. In this case, somebody was recording,” he said, “but it was cool to see the positivity that sparked from it.”
Describing his comrades as a “likeminded group of individuals,” he added, “More or less, we just want to lend a helping hand and be good to one another.”
Waller-Torres reunited with Wojtowicz and Tosner at the Marine Corps barracks in Southeast Washington four days after the rescue. She hugged and high-fived both humble heroes before being presented with a gold challenge coin.
“Since you’re a part of the Body Bearers now,” said Tosner, as reported by WUSA 9.
Her heroes hadn’t known it at the time, but Waller-Torres hails from a military family herself. Her father was in the Navy, and her grandfather, a Second World War veteran, is buried at Arlington in the very same cemetery the Marines emerged from during the Sept. 16 flood.
“I sent [my father] the video and he called me back, and he started crying because it was so emotional for him,” the artist said, equally as moved as her father.
“I am so grateful,” she reflected. “It was like they were sent from somewhere else, from a higher power. I thought I could die, a truck could hit us, and it was as though somebody heard me.”
Watch the heartwarming video:
(Video Credit: Jukin)