Courage is defined as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
For one man in California, it only took a few seconds for him to demonstrate all of these qualities in the face of imminent danger.
Aaron Gutierrez was out with his wife Patricia, his three children, and his mother when the unthinkable happened. The group had been celebrating the birthday of the Gutierrez’s 6-year-old son at a pizza restaurant when a speeding truck ran a red light heading straight for them on their short walk home from the bus stop.
Gutierrez acted quickly. He pushed his pregnant wife out of the way of the truck and cradled his 1-year-old son in his arms, shielding him from the impact. “I heard a big bang,” he told People.
“I looked over my shoulder and I saw the truck flying towards us, I looked at my wife, and it was heading right towards her direction. I knew I was going to get hit, and I put my son as high as I could, and I got hit. Luckily enough, I played football for so many years so I was able to cuddle my son into my hands when I flew into the building. After that, I blacked out.”
Patricia and the kids were unharmed, but Gutierrez’s mother suffered a broken back and bleeding brain from the impact; Gutierrez broke his shoulder and leg.
Recovery is proving to be a long and painful road for Gutierrez, who is the sole provider for his family. A GoFundMe page has been set up by an extended family member who reveals that in addition to his recent medical bills, “Aaron was diagnosed with cancer and will soon start his chemo the next couple of months.” According to the fundraising page, “His insurance is not paying for any of the required medical necessities that Aaron needs for a faster recovery.”
It’s heartbreaking that the family is having to deal with financial worries on top of Gutierrez’s health concerns. The page has received $5,515 towards its $20,000 goal so far, and the campaign is trending.
People reports that Gutierrez’s mother is still in the hospital and doctors are unsure of the extent of her lasting injuries. The driver of the speeding truck was found to be at fault in the collision and a review of the case is pending.
Patricia Gutierrez tells Babble that her children are understandably shaken up from the accident and are seeing a school counselor. “My husband is still in a lot of pain and recovering,” she explains. “Overall, we are doing well and just happy to have each other.”
If not for Gutierrez’s quick thinking and heroic actions, the accident could have been much worse. Gutierrez tells People that the accident has provided him with the opportunity to be home more with his family, although he admits to being angry at first.
“At first, I had a lot of anger. I was very angry at this kid, he just changed everybody’s lives,” he explains. “But our family is way closer and we have a better bond now. I get to spend more time with my kids and wife since I was always on the road before. So in that way, it was blessing in disguise.”
We wish the Gutierrez family all the best as they work to recover from their injuries and face Aaron’s cancer diagnosis.
He is a true hero who deserves to be celebrated and admired for saving his wife, unborn baby, and three children on day when tragedy struck, but courage prevailed.