Swept AWAY

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Everyday Heroes - BY ANDY SIM­MONS

MARGARITO MAR­TINEZ ap­proached Road Run­ner Road care­fully in storm-rav­aged Santa Clarita, Cal­i­for­nia, last March. A swollen creek had flooded it. Mar­tinez, driv­ing a Toy­ota SUV, fig­ured he’d be OK. Big mis­take.

Hal fway across, the rush­ing ­wa­ters grabbed hold of his ve­hi­cle, sweep­ing it off the road and wash­ing it down a rocky streambed. It fi­nally stopped a good 25 me­tres away, when the wa­ter some­how lifted the SUV and wedged it in the ground at a 45-de­gree an­gle. Bruised, shaken and trapped in­side with the muddy wa­ter ris­ing quickly, Mar­tinez was cer­tain he was go­ing to die.

On the road right be­hind Mar­tinez were a de­liv­ery driver and his niece. They watched the hor­ror un­fold, and when Mar­tinez’s SUV came to rest in the mid­dle of the gush­ing creek, the man leapt into ac­tion.

First, he grabbed heavy- duty straps from the back of his van and se­cured the tee­ter­ing SUV to nearby posts. Then he climbed atop Mar­tinez’s ve­hi­cle and banged on a rear win­dow with his fists. Frus­trated,

he turned to his niece and yelled, “Give me a rock!”

Over and over he smashed the rock into the win­dow, to no avail. “We were scared that some­thing else was go­ing to come down and take the SUV, take him, take my un­cle,” Kryst ina Reyes, 27, told News Me­dia. (Her un­cle has not pub­licly re­vealed his name.)

Reyes’s un­cle shouted to Mar­tinez to move away f rom the win­dow. He braced him­self – right foot on the spare tyre, left in the wheel well. He leaned back and threw the rock. Fi­nal ly, the glass broke and the man kicked in the re­main­ing shards. Soon, a soaked Mar­tinez emerged through the win­dow frame and the men es­caped to dry land.

“God is great,” an emot ional ­Mar­tinez said later. “I sur­ren­dered to him to save me.” And he saved ­Mar­tinez by send­ing a de­ter­mined, anony­mous de­liv­ery driver.

A swollen creek had flooded the road. Mar­tinez, driv­ing a Toy­ota SUV, fig­ured he’d be OK. Big mis­take

Mar­tinez (right) be­ing helped from his flooded car by an anony­mous hero

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