An 84-year-old gentleman by the name of Ben Berrera was outside in Nampa, Idaho, on April 12 finishing up a chore. His wife, discovering an old stash of popcorn and not wanting to merely throw it out, asked Berrera to feed it to the ducks in the nearby canal.
Berrera dutifully went out with food in hand to complete the task but got more than he bargained for.
“As soon as I got so near, my balance went off right in the water,” Berrera told KIVI-TV.
Losing his balance, he somehow managed to fall into the water and remained there, on his back, unable to get up. Thankfully some kids nearby saw what had happened and ran off screaming for help.
“And the water was deep, coming into my mouth, so holding there … my head up!” Berrera explained.
James Rine, a 14-year-old and 8th-grader, and his stepdad, Michael Hart, were in a nearby backyard, finishing up some yard work when they were interrupted by the horde of screaming children.
“We were just gettin’ done with some yard work and a couple of small kids came runnin’, screaming back here that someone fell in a ditch,” Hart said.
The two went to investigate and sure enough, there was Berrera with his feet against the rocks and the current forcing his head and back below the water’s surface.
Hart said the sight was terrifying, and that he’d never seen someone shake as hard as Berrera was shaking.
“His feet were kind of elevated on those rocks back there and his back was down in the water, and his head was down in the water and he was just shivering, shivering like I’ve never seen anybody shiver before,” Hart said.
Wasting no time, the 14-year-old leaped into action.
“I hurried up, took my shoes off, jumped the fence and ran back over there,” Rine said. “All I thought was about making sure he was okay.”
Rine told reporters that he managed to reach the man and keep his head propped up against his leg, above the water, until more help arrived. Hart extended a pole to them so they’d have something to brace themselves against.
“They had the ambulance right here, had a rope down to the crate, and then had two ladders right here to pull him out of the water,” Rine said.
First responders arrived and helped Berrera to the hospital, where he stayed for only a few hours. It was no small miracle that despite his tumble and being steeped in water, he seemed OK and hadn’t broken any bones.
“I’m really really happy about it — that I didn’t break my bones,” Berrera agreed.
A week went by with no news, so Rine and Hart were relieved to discover that their new friend was doing well, aside from a couple massive, colorful bruises across his back and side.
“He really saved me,” Berrera said.
“Well you got a new friend right across the ditch from ya okay, Benny?” Hart said. “You got a new friend right back here.”
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