When a driver stopped to help an 8-year-old who had been brutally mauled by two dogs, the boy looked up at him and asked him if he was going to die.
Calmly, Fabian Jiron told him “No,” he wasn’t going to let that happen. Today, the boy’s family credits Jiron and fellow UPS driver Ralph Black with keeping the boy alive.
Jiron and Black had been traveling through Pagosa Springs, Colo., to make a delivery when they saw the boy, Garrett Carothers, his clothes and his body torn, covered in blood lying in the snow. Jiron, of Alamosa, Colo., and Black, of Colorado Springs, Colo., hurried from their truck, thinking the child had been hit by a car. But two men at the scene told them they had just pulled a pit bull off the boy – and the blood-spattered attack dog, and another dog, were still there.
“It was the most horrifying, gruesome scene I’ve ever seen,” Black said.
When Black attempted to restrain the pit bull, “he lunged at me a bit, so I decided I’d better leave him alone. Fabian got a pole to fend the dog off; then he went to give aid to young Garrett.”
Jiron, who has emergency training, took control of the situation, directing the other men on what to do. They elevated the boy’s feet, covered him with a UPS coat and kept him conscious until help arrived. Jiron knelt down in the snow beside Carothers and spoke reassuringly to him.
That’s when Garrett asked him if he was going to die, Black said. The boy “never shed a tear” until the EMTs arrived.
Earlier that day, the boy had gone to visit a friend. But his friend wasn’t home, and as Carothers headed back to his own house, he heard a dog growl behind him. He turned and saw two dogs: a pit bull and a Rottweiler-retriever mix. The boy tried to keep walking, but the dogs attacked him, the pit bull apparently doing the most damage. Later when a sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, the pit bull lunged at him as well, and the deputy shot and killed the dog.
Black said the young man’s family continues to keep the two men informed of Carothers’ situation. Black said the boy is recovering well, thanks to the “amazing things” plastic surgery can do.
Did they hesitate to stop their truck, seeing the seriousness of the situation? Says Black, “When a human being is involved? There’s no choice but to help.”
Both Jiron and Black received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch for their efforts, and their employer, United Parcel Service, also received a certificate for acknowledging these Highway Angels in their midst.
Since its inception in August 1997, the Highway Angel program has recognized hundreds of drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy and courage they have shown others while on the job. Truckload Carriers Association has received letters and emails from people across the country nominating truck drivers for the program.