Three years ago, John Shear threw himself in front of a loose race horse at the Santa Anita track in California in order to save a little girl's life. At the time of the incident, Shear, a war veteran, was 90 years old, and he didn't think twice about what he was doing. He wound up seriously injured and in the hospital for over a month, but he said of his actions: "I'm 90 years old. I have had a life. She hasn't had a life. You got to save that life."
And now, years later, Shear has finally met the little girl who wouldn't be here if it weren't for him.
Shear, who's worked at the Santa Anita Park racetrack for over 50 years, was holding a rope across a gap in the paddock when he saw the massive horse charging toward the crowd. He screamed for everyone to clear the way, and when he turned around, he saw the little girl, Roxy, standing directly in the horse's path. "I knew I was going to get hit," Shear said. "I thought there was a possibility I was going to die but you cannot stop and think should I or shouldn’t I. There is a 5-year-old girl." And despite his multiple pelvic fractures, fractured cheekbone, and cuts on his face and arms, a couple weeks after the accident, Shear told the Los Angeles Times, "Could have been worse. Something could have happened to the little girl. There's no question I would do it again."
I don't know how many people -- especially at the age of 90 -- would be brave enough to be charged by a thoroughbred horse in order to save someone else's life. But Shear has proven himself to be a hero before, serving in the second World War, so, in this case, it isn't exactly a surprise.
Thank goodness Shear was in the right place at the right time that fateful day; many others would have ran. And thank goodness he's okay after the accident. It would be a shame if something happened to him while he was saving someone's life. And it would be a shame if he never got to hear Roxy thank him. A true American hero.
Watch John and Roxy's touching reunion, and the terrifying day the spooked horse got loose:
How unbelievable is this man?
Image via ABC