5 Incredible Times Everyday People Saved The Day

In real life, heroism usually doesn't come in the dramatic Die Hard variety. It's more often some regular person just going about their day when they spot a way to help someone. Sadly, that "help" doesn't involve kicking an immaculately dressed criminal off a building. These people took valuable time out of their lives to do the right thing without even getting to Gruber somebody. The least we can do is tell you a bit about them.

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5
A Gas Station Clerk Saved A Kidnapped Woman By Locking Her In A Restroom

Roughly 10 percent of gas station customers are on the run from either the law or their pasts, and a good attendant has to be ready to act accordingly. So in July 2018, when a woman walked into a Waterford, California gas station and told the clerk that she had been kidnapped by armed men -- only barely sneaking away for a moment after telling her captors that she needed to use the bathroom -- 24-year-old Savannah Pritchett immediately shifted into hero mode. She escorted the woman to the bathroom, gave her a phone so she could call the police, and locked her inside.

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Pritchett then resumed gas station attending like everything was cool, and when the two kidnappers entered the store moments later, they simply waited around ... possibly because they were not very bright. A few minutes later, police showed up and arrested the two perpetrators. They credited Pritchett's quick thinking with putting an end to the victim's day-long ordeal, possibly saving her life. There are lessons to be learned here, although honestly it seems like most of them would only help people become better at kidnapping.

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Related: 6 Awesome Stories Of Bystanders Becoming Heroes

4
Nine Strangers In A Gym Saved An Anorexic Woman's Life

The easiest thing to do at a gym is ignore strangers. No one wants to hear your opinion on how they could be improving their body, and if someone insists that they're not called free weights because you're allowed to take them home, well ... you'll have to agree to disagree. But nine Nashville YMCA members couldn't help but take note of Lauryn Lax, who was working out multiple times per day, despite being visibly emaciated.

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Everyone was pretty sure she was anorexic, but that's a tricky subject to broach. There's a fine line between sensitive inquiry and being a nosy jerk. One woman did try approaching Lax, and after receiving a polite brushoff, no one would have judged them for leaving it at that. Instead, the strangers researched the disease, tracked down Lax's parents, made arrangements with a hospital, and generally figured out how to save a woman's life in a way that didn't technically constitute kidnapping.

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The ensuing intervention was difficult, as they surrounded Lax in the parking lot, insisted that she get in one of their cars, and go to the hospital. They even got her father on the phone when she proved uncooperative with the physician. But it was necessary. Lax was 79 pounds, had a heart rate that barely topped 30, and would have died if she had gone on like that.

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That was in 2011. In 2014, Lax, now friends with the people who helped her, graduated with a doctorate in occupational therapy so that she could be on the other side of the eating disorder process. So let that be a lesson on risking an awkward conversation if you're certain it's the right thing to do. Or at least let it be a lesson on perhaps the only acceptable reason to swarm a woman you barely know in a parking lot in order to comment on her body.

Related: Total Nobodies Who Turned Into Superheroes When It Mattered

3
Truckers Lined Up Under An Interstate To Save A Suicidal Man

Depression is a tough condition with no easy answer. With that in mind, here are 13 trucks forming an impromptu suicide barrier that looks like a scene from a Lethal Weapon movie.

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The truckers were called on by Michigan State Police when a man threatened to jump off a Detroit overpass. The act sent the message that people cared about him, and also ensured that if he did jump, the odds were good that instead of dying, he would just look like a badass for leaping from an overpass on top of a big rig. He eventually stepped down and was taken to a hospital, and then the convoy rolled out, presumably to deliver tons of stuffed animals to orphans. Or Hot Pockets to people like us -- same value, really.

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Related: 6 Nobodies Who Turned Into Superheroes Without Warning

2
20 People Worked Together To Transport A Lost Dog Across The Country

Despite what Homeward Bound taught us, lost dogs aren't actually very good at making their way back home. So when Jake the dog (no relation) turned up in Pennsylvania after disappearing from his Arizona home, he clearly needed some help.

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Jake was discovered and taken to a vet, who located the owner via microchip. The owner was thrilled that Jake had been found, but couldn't make a cross-country trip, and so the animal charity A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue rallied its troops to find volunteers who could drive various legs of the 2,000-mile, three-day odyssey. Jake had a great time and loved everyone he met during his road trip, although he refused to discuss the events that led him to Pennsylvania, preferring to put that dark chapter of his life behind him.

And that, until we finally succeed in our attempts to teach dogs how to use Google Maps, is how you get a lost animal home. In total, the operation took 20 transporters, three people who could keep Jake overnight, 30 stops in nine states, and one very good boy.

Am I home?  I can't tell.  I've had my head out the window since Kentucky.A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue"Am I home? I can't tell. I've had my head out the window since Kentucky."

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Related: 6 Normal People Who Turned Into Action Heroes Out Of Nowhere

1
80 Strangers Formed A Human Chain To Rescue Swimmers From A Riptide

A fun day at the beach can quickly turn into a life-or-death situation -- an important reminder that the Universe can and will use anything in its power to destroy us. One notable attempted murder occurred in Florida in 2017, when two boys wandered away from their family and were caught in a rip current. Family members and other beachgoers attempted to rescue them until nine goddamn people were stuck, because sometimes emergency situations devolve into clown car bullshit.

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There was no lifeguard on duty, possibly because they cost money and Florida figures that they have tourists to spare. While a rescue boat was on its way, some of the stranded people had already been out there for 20 minutes and were struggling to tread water. With people on the verge of drowning, everyone on the beach declared "Eat shit, Poseidon!" and formed a human chain to drag the swimmers to safety.

It isn't a summer vacation until you've engaged in a battle of wills against the pitiless sea.Roberta Ursrey, Via The Washington PostIt isn't a summer vacation until you've engaged in a battle of wills against the pitiless sea.

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Roughly 80 people -- some of whom couldn't even swim -- built the chain, while two strong swimmers went out to drag the exhausted victims close enough that they could be retrieved, then passed from person to person until they reached land. That's when God decided to turn on Hard Difficulty.

One of the victims, a 67-year-old woman, had a massive heart attack, and what was later revealed to be an aortic aneurysm in her stomach. She urged the rescuers to let her drown and ensure their own safety, but they still got her to the beach, and then a hospital, where she was stabilized. Everyone survived, and while most witnesses and reporters talked about how the incident was a stirring reminder of the power of human cooperation, we would argue that the lesson is to always just spend your vacations getting drunk on dry land.

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Mark is on Twitter and wrote a book.

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