Day 8: The Man Who Saved My Son


Dear Sir (I’m so truly embarrassed I never got your name. It all happened so fast.),

You saved his life. There’s no question in my mind. None.

It took a split second for things to go from a normal hum-drum Sunday morning to terrifying. I remember hyperventilating from the rush of frightening thoughts.

It was a Sunday morning in 1994 much like today. Cool and clear outside, all those things going on inside that it takes to get a family ready for church. My 2-year-old son, Adam, was fed and dressed, and we’d left him to play as we went about our own business getting ready. Thomas the Tank was probably playing in the VCR.

When I stepped out of the bathroom clean shaven, Adam wasn’t there. He was nowhere. The house was less than a thousand square feet so it didn’t take long to realize he just wasn’t there. A dozen panicked thoughts raced through my mind at once. What could possibly have happened? I ran to the back door. It was unlocked, now wide open. Adam, who’d just started walking three or four months earlier, walked right out the door. We lived on Nettleton Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Jonesboro.

How long had he been gone? Which direction did he go? Oh, God, this can’t be happening. Please let him be okay. Please help me find him… It was terror.

Then, quickly as reality set in, you knocked at the door.

“Sir, is this your child?” you asked holding him up at chest level, just high enough that Iscreen-shot-2017-01-08-at-5-29-03-am could see his muddy socks. “He was right out here in the street. Must have walked out somehow.” There was no judgment in your tone.

You cared enough to stop your truck right then and there and act. I guess it was obvious he’d come from our yard.

I was too thankful to be embarrassed, too completely relieved to do anything but wrap my arms around him. I thanked you as best I knew how. You gave him a pat on the head, walked down the porch to your truck, and as quickly as it happened, it was over, everything back to normal. I’m crying thinking about how completely helpless I felt in one moment, and how grateful I was in the next. And it was because of you.

To be completely honest, I’ve wondered at times if you were an angel. Were you an angel, mister? I thank God if you were. I thank Him even if you weren’t.

Adam went on to be an extraordinary child and student. I thought you’d want to know that. He excelled with a double major in biology and Spanish for his undergraduate degree and he’s now a first-year medical student. He’s one of those people who will change the world. I’m sure of it.

The world needed Adam. I always knew the world needed him. Thank you for being there to cover a careless young parent’s mistake and keeping him on the path.

I’m eternally grateful from the core of my soul.

Your’s truly,

Steve Watkins

2 thoughts on “Day 8: The Man Who Saved My Son

  1. I once say a friend who had lost her toddler in a parking lot. I remember this cry that she let out to this day that was so primal. The hair on my neck is starting to stand up from the memory. Thanks. Phil.


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