On Saturday morning, Waverly, Tennessee, experienced significant flooding. Residents were trapped or displaced and many people lost all their earthly possessions, ruined by water.
Tyler Stanley and his mother set out Saturday morning to check on his daughter, who was apparently nearby, affected by the flood.
As the two ran along the train tracks, which were elevated above the floodwaters, they spotted a nearly submerged truck in the road-turned-river.
Trapped inside were Bonnie and Doug Whitfield, 71, and their three small dogs. Doug had been standing up through the sunroof of the truck, surveying the severity of their situation, when he spotted Stanley.
While the 32-year-old father was clearly concerned for his daughter, he couldn’t leave the seniors on their own in that precarious situation.
“They looked just terrified,” he told WKRN-TV.
The rising waters had covered the bed of the truck, and Whitfield said they were “moments” from being swept away altogether.
Using a rope he threw out to them, Stanley managed to bring Doug, Bonnie and their three pups to safety. The elderly couple had to climb through the sunroof to escape, and Stanley told them to hold onto the rope and go with the current and he’d pick them up.
After bringing them out of the water, Stanley then put them in his own truck, which was nearby, while he continued his search for his daughter.
Though there were no details available on how the dogs were rescued, all three were safe and sound and featured in the news video.
Before Stanley set out again, Bonnie and Stanley’s mom traded shoes, as Bonnie had sneakers on and Stanley’s mom only had a pair of sandals.
“My goodness, this guy — you know, he stopped to help us when he was trying to find his children, you know,” Doug recalled. “He was, he — he was on a mission, a, a dire mission himself, you know.”
Stanley did end up finding his daughter, and everyone made it home safe. The hero even returned Bonnie’s sneakers a few days later and wanted to see how the couple was faring, but they were out.
While Bonnie and Doug are thankful to have their lives, their livelihood was destroyed. The Whitfields own 12 properties, and not one was left untouched, leaving Doug scrambling to find places for the 12 displaced families to stay in the meantime.
As for Doug and Bonnie’s family, they’ve reached out to Stanley to thank him, too, and according to one post, consider him family now. They also warned him that he’ll be getting Christmas presents from them.
Doug managed to get back in contact with Stanley over the phone for what he called a very emotional call. The grandparents are thankful for their hero and thankful they and their pups made it out of the flood.
“And the dogs, too. He saved the dogs,” Bonnie said. “I would say, I love you, 10,000 angels around you.”
“He’s very kind-hearted,” Doug added. “[A] real gentleman.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.