It started out as just another ordinary day for 18-year-old Justin Gavin. He didn’t know he would end his day by becoming a real-life hero. On September 9th, he was walking along the street, making his way to Walgreens to pick up some items for his sister. He never would have thought that day would turn out any differently than the ones before it. Who could have possibly guessed the events that would take place that fateful day? He was simply going on with his day as usual when something caught his eye. Along with all the others on the street, he knew he had to do something.
As he was walking toward Walgreens, he noticed something that alarmed him as well as everyone else who was on the street. All of a sudden, he saw something that would completely change his life. He saw a car that was on fire pass him by, driving down the street erratically. He froze in place, not knowing what to do. “The car drove past me, on fire,” he recalled. He’s currently a student at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, New York who is temporarily living in Connecticut.
Sprinting Into Action
The thing is, the driver of the car had no idea it was on fire. Gavin saw a little girl in the window of the SUV. Instantly, Gavin rushed toward it, yelling to the car driver about the fire. The woman at the wheel, Latrisha Chambers, couldn’t hear him and simply kept on driving. Along with other drivers nearby, Gavin tried getting the mother to pull over her car, yelling to her that the vehicle was on fire. However, she wouldn’t stop.
It turns out that the woman wasn’t refusing to stop – she wasn’t able to. Gavin refused to give up. He kept chasing the woman’s car. Eventually, she managed to get the car to come to a stop. Gavin was close behind and immediately jumped into action, despite being terrified. It was clear that every second was crucial and things could go from bad to worse in an instant. Without thinking twice, Just began helping the mother out of the burning car.
The first thing Gavin did was help the poor mother out of the driver’s seat. Once she was safely out, he went ahead and pulled each of the three kids in the car out of the flaming vehicle. There was a 9-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 1-year-old baby in a car seat, Jaylah, Ellie, and Isaiah. Just moments after he got everyone out to safety, the car was completely engulfed in flames. Justin saved the entire family from a gruesome end.
The Waterbury Police arrived soon after the family was rescued along with the Fire Department. Everyone rushed in to help and make sure the mother and children were all unharmed. Naturally, there were some serious consequences to Justin’s rash actions. It was no ordinary thing he had done. He’d saved an entire family from a burning car despite the very real fear he had felt. It was not a given for anyone to do something like that.
Chief Of Police
After the family was safe, things seemed to be wrapping up nicely. However, the story wasn’t over for Justin Gavin just yet. His good deed didn’t go unnoticed, that’s for sure. The Waterbury Police Department awarded Justin a “challenge coin”, an honor normally reserved only for officers. The Chief of Police, Fernando Spagnolo, told Gavin, “I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family you saved”.
Preventing A Tragedy
What Justin did took a lot of bravery and courage. He single-handedly prevented a horrible tragedy from taking place. When asked about his train of thought during the event, he replied, “Life is too short, so I just thought if that was me in that situation, I would want someone to help me so I definitely did what I can do”. The woman driving the car told the police that Justin had saved hers and her children’s’ lives. Still, there was more to the story.
Brave Like No Other
Justin spoke about the entire experience after the initial shock wore off. He said, “I was scared because I didn’t know whether the car was going to blow up in that instant,” he said. “I grabbed the baby and the two little girls out of the car and I helped her out of the car.” Hours later, when he was being presented with the challenge coin, the Chief of Police had more to say about the heroic teen.
Token Of Appreciation
“I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family you saved,” the Chief of Police went on. It turns out that this whole ordeal has long-lasting effects for everyone, not just the family involved. As a matter of fact, the parking lot where the car burned still has charred remains to this day. Additionally, Justin’s life changed as a result of the event.
The event made Justin realize something he hadn’t before. Before this all happened, he had dropped out of school. However, afterward, he started thinking. He began considering going back to kick off a career as a first responder. “I probably most likely will join the police force or become a firefighter,” he said about his new decision. “Because after yesterday I feel like there are more people that can be helped.”