On his way home on July 2, 1971, a 24-year-old student at Fresno City College went home and noticed what he assumed was a fire as he drives closer. He arrived at a house that was completely overwhelmed with fire.
There, three young girls wearing nightgowns stood outside and a terrified mom shouting that one of her children was still inside the house. The police were present but the firefighter wasn’t there yet. Carol Magee, the desperate mother told the police and the stranger what room her baby was in.
The only present in the scene that time was the police and the young college student. So the police broke a window and lift the student into a smoke-filled room where the child was.
Upon seeing the child, the stranger picked him up, completely unharmed. The unnamed hero left the site through a window and then climbed out a burning house, cut by the glass shards on the broken window.
The worried mother hugged her child and the unidentified student disappeared. At that moment, the ceiling collapsed and the child’s room was swallowed by flames. Since then, the young man didn’t hear anything about the baby he had saved from possible danger.
The local newspaper wrote about the incident but states no information about the mysterious good Samaritan who saved that baby. A friend of the stranger contacted the newspaper to inform them that the mysterious student’s last name was Freund. The family couldn’t find the young hero and got no chance to say thank you.
When Cyndee Farr-Gutierrez, one of the little girls who had been outside in her nightgown that evening, wrote about the childhood fire for a class assignment, something happened. She wrote a letter of thanks and sent it to the local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, and requested that they publish the letter as an advertisement.
If the student named “Freund” still lived in the area, maybe he would see it?
According to Newsner, journalists at The Fresno Bee decided to help Cyndee find the man who saved her little brother’s life in 1971. And they eventually succeeded. At the end of last year, she and her sisters visited Rick Freund for the first time, and could finally give him their sincere thanks. It was during this meeting that Freund was told that the child he had saved was a boy, Robert “Bobby” Magee. Bobby is 47-years-old and lives just outside Fresno. He works as a carpenter and is proud to be a craftsman.
Bobby also owns a pumpkin patch in Fresno where he works during the fall. He also runs a local blood donor organization, which usually has a blood donor bus in the area.
“We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into our work, and I guess that’s what I’m most proud of, that every year we save lives,” says Bobby, whose project has collected 18,000 blood donations in the past 18 years.
Shortly after that first meeting with his thankful sisters, Bobby and his family met with Rick Freund in a restaurant. Bobby learned that Freund served in the Army as military police and owns a trucking company.
Unfortunately, Mom Carol would never have the chance to thank Freund face to face; She passed away in 2003. However, she had written her own thank you letter from Bobby’s perspective. Bobby only learned of the letter when he was older.
Here’s what Carol wrote:
You saved my life and disappeared before my parents could express their gratitude; some heroes may not want to be thanked.
A thank you isn’t enough for saving my life. But I know that Mom and Dad will do their best to teach me what’s right and wrong, and to follow your example.
You saw what needed to be done and you did it. We will never forget you.
Apparently, Bobby’s own life was affected that night and now, he works to save lives in a more organized way.
The source also said that it would not be the first time he was a hero in the right place at the right time according to Rick Freund. In fact, he rescued another stranger using the Heimlich maneuver and also saved a man’s life using CPR, at a funeral. The same thing happened a few years later, but that time, Rick rescued a man in cardiac arrest while they were out hunting.
Rick has received several awards for heroism and this quote summarizes his life story quite well:
“You see something wrong and you take a deep breath when you see that no one else will help. Then you go in and do it.”
Eventually, the boy he saved devoted much of his life to save the lives of so many more.
The story is originally from Newsner.
What can you say about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.