Chicago fire department Lieutenant Steve O’Malley was working on his boat at the 31st Street Harbor on Lake Michigan. He had noticed a couple pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, just before they walked onto the pier.
“Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.” —Psalm 31:2
“It was just a freak thing,” said witness Maynard Welch. “The wind was high and the wheels of the carriage were turned toward the lake. The wind just whipped it right in.” In moments, the wind blew the stroller and it fell sideways into the water with the 18-month-old still strapped inside, face down.
“I was determined that the baby was not going to go down on my watch,” O’Malley said. As the baby’s mother screamed for help, the child’s father jumped in to rescue his son. O’Malley, who has two adult daughters of his own, followed. “I saw the yellow t-shirt the baby had on and grabbed and pulled the baby up in the stroller,” O’Malley said.
The frightened toddler began to cry, but was unhurt. “It gave me goose bumps,” said witness Alexandria Hall. “It was a happy ending, but it’s an eye opening for everybody with children.” O’Malley downplayed his actions, crediting his years of fire department training, “Glad I was here,” he said. “Right place and the right time.” The grateful parents invited fireman O’Malley to a cookout on their boat.
As we all know, first responders are never off-duty. The natural instinct to save and protect, kicks in when a crisis arises. All over our nation, on any given day, lives are saved, people are protected, and disasters are averted, because God puts the right people at the right place at the right time, just like O’Malley said.
FATHER GOD, You have my days planned for me. Help me to walk with You and listen for Your voice, so I can be at Your place in Your time, to serve.