When she received the first message, a feeling of eerieness and uneasiness took over her. She didn’t even know who that man was. She didn’t recognize his name or his pictures.
But the man knew her very well. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to him that she had made it to 17. Now, their paths were about to cross again; the story of how it happened has already been heard by millions of people.
The last time he saw her, she was just a baby. He would never forget that night. It had been one of the most critical moments of his career as a fireman and even of his whole life.
The memory of that night had kept haunting him for all those years, and for a good reason. Had things been different, she would have never survived.
The protagonist of this story is a teenager named Dawnielle Davison. She was born and raised in Wenatchee, Washington. When it took place, she was 17 years old and about to graduate from high school.
To everyone who knew her, Dawnielle was the very image of perfection: she was a bright, hard-working, and talented girl with the world at her feet. But there was something about her that not many people knew.
There was a dark event deeply buried in a remote point of the girl’s past, something that almost no one was aware of. As a matter of fact, even Dawnielle herself had only a vague notion of what happened.
But she and everyone else were about to find out what had really happened. One cannot just escape from their past.
Only her parents knew exactly what had happened. Up until that moment, she was only vaguely aware of it. It’s not like her family had been hiding it from her, but she just hadn’t given it much thought.
But the fact was that many years ago, when she was just 9 months old, she had been really close to losing her life.
Back then, her 9-month-old self and her parents lived in an apartment building in Wenatchee. One night, the whole block caught fire. Ever since the night it happened, the causes of the fire had remained unknown.
Nobody really knew who or what may have caused the fire. However, there was at least one certain thing.
The firemen had done a great job at taking care of the situation. Everyone in the building had been evacuated on time, and no one had even gotten hurt.
But for a minute, things didn’t look so bright. For one, Dawnielle may have been one of the casualties of the incident if it wasn’t for the providential action of one man.
When it took place, Dawnielle’s mom wasn’t there. She used to work the night shift, and usually, Dawnielle and her dad would be the only people in the flat until early in the morning.
When the fire started, the baby and her dad were asleep. When Dawnielle’s dad woke up, the flames were already devouring everything around the apartment and the rooms were filled with smoke. He was frightened and disoriented; but then, a miracle happened.
Two firemen managed to get inside the apartment and helped Dawnielle and her dad leave the building safe and sound. They were the last two residents to leave the building.
Had the firemen arrived just a few seconds later, things could have been very different. Dawnielle and her dad could have lost their lives. But in the end, everything worked out alright. Dawnielle didn’t know the full story until she received a mysterious message years later.
Now, Dawnielle was 17 years old. She was about to finish high school; her graduation was scheduled just a few months ahead. One evening, she was scrolling through Facebook when she received a message from someone she didn’t know.
And when she read it, she couldn’t help but feel bewildered by what it said. Could it be true? Was that man really who he said he was?
‘I think I pulled you out of a fire when you were a baby,’ the message said. Dawnielle spent a few moments thinking about what to do. Should she tell her parents?
But she decided to get to the bottom of the issue by herself. So after some minutes of reflecting on what to do, she sent a message back.
‘Oh yeah, what was my mom doing?’ If the man was actually who he said he was, he should be able to recall that detail of the story. And sure enough, just a few minutes later, the man replied.
‘Well, she was at work, and your dad was there.’ So it was true! That was the man who had saved her life when she was just a toddler!
His name was Mike Hughes. Now, he was 61 years old and retired. But 17 years before, he was a captain with the Wenatchee Fire Department. The rescue of Dawnielle had been one of the most important highlights of his whole career.
For years, he had been unable to forget it. He often wondered if the girl he had rescued when she was just a baby would be doing alright. So he had spent months trying to track her down until he finally found her Facebook profile.
The two of them kept in touch from then on, and they even met in person. Mike also knew Dawnielle’s parents, who thanked him for what he had done for the family years ago.
And one day, close to her graduation, Dawnielle suggested Mike something. She felt like the man deserved some recognition; he had saved her life, nothing more and nothing less.
She invited Mike to her graduation ceremony! The ex-fireman instantly accepted. He even was present later at Dawnielle’s prom party. “It meant an awful lot to me. I was really happy,” Mike told the press. He even shed a few tears.
“I don’t know really how to describe it, they’re happy tears, to realize some things could have gone wrong,” he also said. “She was the third person I’d pulled out of a fire in my career, so I always say the third is the charm. That’s what my career and the fire service is all about.”