One of my earliest memories involves visiting a small seasonal condominium complex where my grandparents were living at the time. They liked to spend time by the pool and as I toddled over to them, I slipped and fell right in the water.
In a trice, my mother jumped in and dragged my sputtering, blubbering, completely unable-to-swim self to safety. It was a terrifying moment for both her and me.
The scene seemed perfectly idyllic. He was enjoying a drink on a West Palm Beach, Florida, porch with a friend.
His wife and an older child were swimming in the pool in front of them. But Passavanti also has a younger child, 1-and-a-half-year-old Rocco.
Someone had wisely set up a 4-foot-tall safety fence around the pool. There was just one problem.
The entrance sat open, a flap pulled back to allow easy access. And a big, brightly colored, bouncy temptation lay bobbing on the surface of the water: a giant beach ball.
WPTV reported that young Rocco didn’t waste any time. He sped through the gate and ran for the ball — and promptly fell into the pool.
The adults’ attention was diverted for only a moment, but that was long enough for the non-swimming toddler to frantically flail in the water. When Passavanti noticed what had happened, he sprang into action.
Video captured by a Nest security camera and later shared on Facebook shows the men exclaim out loud. They both rush out of their chairs, and one man pauses as he runs up to the safety fence.
Not Passavanti, though. He launches himself up and over the fence in a surprisingly elegant swan dive, splashing into the water to save his son.
“The second you see it, you get Superman strength and just have to go for it. Whatever you got to do,” he said.
“It didn’t even cross my mind to go around, it was point A to point B.”
He also added that leaving the gate open was a mistake.
“You’ve got these preventative measures, make sure you use them properly,” Passavanti said. “Heads-up parenting, watch what’s going on. Keep your eyes on your kids.”
It’s a warning more people should heed.
American Academy of Pediatrics has said that drowning kills more children between the ages of one and four than any other cause. What’s more, nearly a thousand children perished from drowning in the United States in 2017.
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