Lifestyle & Human Interest

Heroic 16-Year-Old Pushes Man in Wheelchair to Safety as Tornado Warning Sounds


Few things are as terrifying as being caught in the middle of a dangerous storm. When the tornado sirens begin, it is time to find shelter.

On May 21, Gregory Beck, a resident of St. John, Missouri, was shopping at a local Schnucks when the tornado sirens began to sound. “Everyone kept telling me the storm is coming and you need to hurry up and get home,” Beck told KMOV.

While everyone else moved to their vehicles to quickly get out of the path of the storm, Beck found himself in a difficult situation. Beck had lost both of his legs in the past year, and due to complications with diabetes, he was also legally blind.

Now unable to drive, Beck pushed himself in a wheelchair to get to and from his house. An already difficult task was now going to be even more dangerous, thanks to the looming severe weather.

Sixteen-year-old Seth Phillips and his mom Amber Gilleylen had also been shopping that day, and saw Beck struggling in the road in his wheelchair. “He was just all by himself and alone and everybody was just driving by, cussing at him and honking at him and just yelling ignorant things towards him and that wasn’t right,” Seth told Inside Edition.

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It was then that Phillips asked, “Hey mom, can I help this guy out?”

Phillips and Gilleylen pulled up next to Beck, who had only made it to a nearby gas station. “This lady and her son were hollering at me like ‘are you okay?” Beck told KMOV. “Very lovely lady driving and her son. Just the greatest people and very concerned about other people, which America needs to start doing more of.”

Gilleylen told Inside Edition that she was more than happy to pull over to let Seth help him. “I actually have a grandfather who is a double amputee and I know the struggle that comes with that,” she said.

Phillips then jumped out of the car and help pushed Beck up the hill to his home, which was a quarter of a mile away. Beck said that it normally takes him 20 to 25 minutes to make it home, and he has to stop often, sometimes as many as 10 times, to rest.

Phillips said that his biggest fear was that Beck would not make it home.

Gilleylen followed close behind her son as he helped Beck make it home before the storm hit. She also filmed her son’s heroic actions, later uploading them to Facebook with words of praise.

“He is truly my pride and joy,” she said. “I’m proud of you Seth Robert Phillips for choosing to be a good human.” The video quickly garnered the attention of news and media outlets.

They made it to Beck’s home safely thanks to the selfless young man.

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Gilleylen shared that when Phillips got back in the car, his only complaint was that “we live in a world where people would rather fly by and honk at a disabled person than to lend a hand.”

“My hope is that other teenagers will see that it’s the cool thing to do, you know, it’s good to help other people. It doesn’t make you uncool to stop and help someone who needs it,” Gilleylen said, according to KMOV.

Phillips is deservedly receiving much attention and praise for his demonstration of character. Even Missouri State Representative Raychel Proudie recognized Phillips, describing him as a “stellar example.”

Gilleylen is certainly one proud mom, and is thankful for the kindness and overwhelming response to her son’s actions. “I’m just truly humbled by all of this,” she wrote on Facebook.

Phillips now refers to Beck as his friend, and he and his mom have launched a fundraiser to help Beck afford an electric wheelchair. They hope to be able to reconnect in the near future.

If you would like to give to the fundraising campaign, you can visit the page here.

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