If you spend a lot of time with popular stories (think novels and movies), you expect for heroes to come out of their adventures more or less unscathed. They’ll invariably save who needs saving and oppose whatever evil needs opposing.
They might get a few bumps and bruises for their trouble. But you can rest assured that they’ll accomplish what they need to do and end up none the worse for wear.
Of course, the real world doesn’t work that way most of the time. That’s entirely evident in the case of a brave waitress from Daytona Beach, Florida.
According to WESH, 19-year-old Hanna Pignato is no stranger to bravery. A waitress at Joe’s Crab Shack, a restaurant by the beach, she witnessed a horrible sight on April 13.
An 8-year-old boy had gotten caught in a rip current. Unlike an undertow, which drags swimmers under, a rip tide drags them away from shore.
Those who struggle against the current rather than swimming parallel to land quickly find themselves exhausted. That was the state of the child when Pignato saw him.
She didn’t waste any time. She’d been working on the rooftop deck of Joe’s Crab shack, and she handed a customer her apron and phone, then jumped down to save the boy.
View this post on Instagram
In a pitch perfect story, Pignato would have plunged into the surf, saved the young man, and emerged to deafening applause. However, this incident didn’t have a storybook ending — and Pignato knew it immediately.
See, the plunge descended for a full 20 feet. And the water beneath Pignato? It was really, really shallow.
“Right when I jumped, I was like, ‘I’m done,’” she said. “Right when I hit the bottom floor, it was maybe two feet, three feet.”
Inside Edition reported that Pignato ended up striking a sandbar, the impact breaking bones in her foot and her lower back. Another Good Samaritan ended up reaching the child before her, and because he had swallowed a lot of water, he was was taken to the hospital.
In fact, Pignato ended up needing to be rescued herself. Still, she’s not sorry she made the attempt.
“I was just thinking that could be my little sister I would hope someone would save,” Pignato told the Daytona Beach Journal. “So I jumped.”
The only thing she regrets is that she didn’t judge the depth of the water correctly. “I should have walked down the pier a little bit more and done it so much better,” she said.
However, she also remembered the look in the mother’s eyes as she watched her son struggling in the water. “She was screaming, and I was scared,” Pignato said.
“I know what it’s like not to have my family. I did not want her to go through that. I’m just happy and grateful.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.