J.C. Mitchell Elementary School Afterschool Counselor Edgar Baez apologetically texted his boss Tuesday, “Sorry I’m late. Stuck in traffic.” But his humble message wasn’t quite the whole story. Baez was late because he stopped to rescue an elderly man who had had an accident and was stuck in his smoking car.
“We were making a right-hand turn, and noticed a trail of liquid that led to a crash scene,” Baez recalls.
A sedan had collided with an SUV and the driver of the sedan, an elderly man, was slumped over his seat and laying on the car horn.
“I immediately pulled over, because I could tell he needed help,” Baez says. The man was responsive but his legs were badly hurt and his car was smoking. “I talked to him and told him, ‘We need to get you out of here,'” Baez says.
Baez scooped up the man and put him on the median until first responders could arrive on the scene. Baez, who hopes to become a police officer, explains, “I just did what I had to do.”
Once help arrived, Baez left for work without getting the name of the man he saved or knowing if he was OK after the accident, and when he arrived at school to begin work, he didn’t give anyone any indication of what he had done.
“That’s just his heart,” Lisa Faustini, the Afterschool Direc
tor at J.C. Mitchell says of Baez. Faustini came to know Baez and his family many years ago when they were helping a mutual friend with car trouble. “I immediately saw he was special,” she said. “That very same evening, I offered him a job.”
It wasn’t until Baez’s mother, who was in the car when the rescue occurred mentioned her son’s heroics to Faustini that she realized that they “had a hero among us!”