Do you have elderly parents, grandparents, or other relatives? Then you know that friends and loved ones are often extremely concerned about their safety and well-being.
That natural apprehension often shifts into overdrive during colder months. Senior citizens can be especially vulnerable to injury involving snowy streets, freezing rain, or unexpected patches of ice.
Perhaps that’s why one incredible video is rapidly going viral across social media. It illustrates what is perhaps the ultimate nightmare scenario concerning senior safety.
But it also spotlights selfless human kindness at its absolute best. Reportedly, the participants didn’t even know each other — yet we’d all hope for a similarly brave guardian angel if our own elderly loved one were involved.
While out riding his bicycle in Baoding recently, a 54-year-old man named Shi Lei came across a 70-year-old woman who had fallen into a frozen river.
The city of Baoding is located in north China’s Hebei Province.
Reports don’t indicate exactly how the woman wound up in this life-threatening predicament. But they are very specific about Shi Lei’s quick thinking.
While other pedestrians stood on a nearby bridge and summoned police, Shi Lei crawled out onto the ice without a moment’s hesitation. The elderly victim appeared weak, disoriented, and utterly unable to assist herself.
According to a 2009 article in Scientific American, this is unsurprising given the circumstances. In frigid water, hypothermia can begin taking hold within minutes — and symptoms may include any combination of confusion, clumsiness, stupor, weak pulse, low blood pressure, and slurred speech.
Video footage shows Shi Lei sitting hunched on a thin ice ledge, soaking wet. He grasps the woman’s red coat sleeve as she bobs helplessly nearby.
He shouts with frantic exertion, repeatedly attempting to break through the ice with his own bare hands.
A fellow onlooker stands braced on a scrap of cardboard or plywood, holding Shi Lei by the waist so the rescuer won’t slip himself.
The ice soon gives way, spilling both men into the freezing, waist-deep water. Coughing and sputtering, Shi Lei physically lifts the woman until his companion can help pull her to safety.
According to news reports, neighbors immediately swaddled the woman in warm bedding and cotton-padded coats. She was later transported home by Shi Lei, her grateful relatives, and several concerned fellow citizens.
And what about the good Samaritan himself? Shi Lei told media outlets that after taking a hot shower and drinking a bowl of soothing ginger water, he headed off to his day job.
Those of us with aging relatives watch this video, and breathe a shaky sigh of appreciative relief. But for unassuming heroes like Shi Lei, it’s apparently all in a day’s work.
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