A couple of years back, as a racehorse broke free from his handler and bolted for the gate at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., a 92-year-old man by the name of John Shear sacrificed his body by throwing himself over a 5-year-old girl who was in the path of the animal.
“You cannot stop and think, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?'” Shear, a former jockey, told ESPN’s E:60. “There’s a 5-year-old girl. I’m 90 years old. She hasn’t had a life. I’ve had a life. You’ve gotta save that life.”
Among Shear’s fractures included one in his pelvis, the Daily Racing Forum reported. According to his son, because of his healthy diet and zealous exercise regimen, Shear was able to recover after spending a total of seven weeks in the hospital.
Shear was later able to reunite with the little girl that he had saved after more than two years later.
Today, Roxy Key is now 8 years of age, and Shear specifically took the time to visit her at the ballet studio in which she was about to perform.
ESPN caught the reunion on camera.
“I kept saying to myself, ‘Is that Roxy? Where is she?’ I was on pins and needles waiting to see her,” Shear said. “And when I finally see her come out and dance, it felt so exhilarating. I can hardly explain. I felt so emotional in my heart.”
Key’s dad, Michael, who had accompanied his daughter on the day of the accident, told ESPN that his daughter would not be with us today had it not been for the heroic act of John Shear.
“[Shear] didn’t save a daughter,” he said. “He saved a family.”