18-year-old Justin Gavin sprung into action when he saw a burning vehicle with a family in it. He said the experience changed his outlook on life.
As Justin Gavin, aged 18, was walking down a street in Connecticut, he saw a small SUV covered in flames drive past him. He even spotted a little girl in the car window. Drivers behind the SUV honked their horns and even got out of their cars to let the mother driving the burning vehicle know that it was in flames. When the mother could not stop, Gavin decided to take matters into his own hands and spring into action. He chased the vehicle down and helped the family escape, saving the lives of the mother and the three children inside, CNN reports.
18 year-old Justin Gavin rescued a mother and three children, from a burning car in Waterbury on Wednesday. Thank you for your bravery, Justin~ the world needs more Justin’s.https://t.co/leFw9tyUm3— Jahana Hayes (@RepJahanaHayes) September 11, 2020
"I'm yelling, 'Stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire!'" The 18-year-old said of the incident. When he realized the mom could not bring the SUV to a halt, he bravely sprung into action. "I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out," Gavin said. "I guess my instincts took over." Gavin chased the car down. When he finally reached it, it had stopped. First, he helped the mother climb out of the driver's seat. Then, he pulled the three children in the back seat out to safety as well as the flames grew bigger and bigger. The children were aged one, four, and nine years old.
Justin Gavin ran to the scene of a burning vehicle and pulled a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old from the backseat. https://t.co/jZDlCWbKfw— Arizona Daily Star (@TucsonStar) September 14, 2020
Just moments later, the car was completely engulfed in flames. The teenager shared, "It kind of got scary because I didn't know whether I was going to be able to get everyone out in time. And luckily, I did." Now, the mother credits Gavin with saving her and her children's lives, officials stated. For his act of bravery, the 18-year-old was honored by the Waterbury Police Department as a hero. Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo awarded him with a "challenge coin" in order to acknowledge his courageous act. As Gavin accepted the token of appreciation and shook the Chief's hand, he had a wide smile on his face.
Well done, Justin Gavin. There is good in this world. Thanks for reminding us. https://t.co/6YHFziyhnY— Aaron (@chionophobic) September 16, 2020
Chief Spagnolo affirmed, "I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved." For Gavin, the experience was inspiring and reminded him of just how little time he has in this life to make a positive difference. He said, "It made me realize life is short."