It appears one East County boy has a guardian angel.
Her name is Ashley. And she emerged Dec. 30 from her car on State Road 70 near River Club to help 13-year-old Owen Ragsdale in his greatest time of need.
That afternoon, an uneven patch of concrete had stopped his front tire during his bike ride home. Owen tumbled up and over his handlebars. He put his arms out in front of him to brace for impact, and as he collided with the pavement below, he heard the snap.
“It’s an awful sound,” Owen says.
The crash broke Owen’s left arm and his right wrist. Pulling himself off the concrete, he hobbled to the street and waved his injured arms over his head, hoping a driver would see him.
One car passed. Then another. Then two more.
“I even saw some of them turn and look (at me),” Owen says.
Finally, a stranger stopped.
Do you need me to call someone? She asked.
No, I’m fine, Owen replied jokingly, his right arm dangling from the elbow down.
The stranger, whom Owen only knows as Ashley, took his cell phone and called 911. Then, she called Owen’s mother, Diane, and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived.
“I never got her phone number,” Diane says. “She called from his phone, (and although) we did speak several times, in the chaos and shock, it never entered my thoughts to ask her last name or phone number. I only know her as the stranger who came to his — our — rescue.”
At Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, Owen underwent surgery to insert a plate and screws to repair the compound fracture in his left arm. Doctors did not discover Owen’s broken wrist that day, so the family had to return to the hospital on New Year’s Eve for another appointment.
Today, Owen, has casts on both arms and scrapes on his face. Depending on his recovery, Owen will have to remain in the casts for six to eight weeks.
After listening to Owen recount his tale, I couldn’t decide whether I was more shocked that someone didn’t stop sooner — or that someone stopped at all. So many of us — myself included — run our lives under a “get in, get out, get home” mentality, and when we see a scene like this, we assume that 911 already has been called and the cavalry is on its way.
But for Owen, it wasn’t. And who knows how long it would have taken for another angel to appear? I wonder: If I had seen him, would I have stopped?
I sure hope so.
In this story — complete with happy ending — those few minutes Ashley took out of her day made her a hero.
“We will be forever grateful to Ashley, who did stop and get him the help he needed,” Diane says. “I hope that Ashley is out there and reads this. (I want her to know) how thankful we are and that he is going to be fine.”
Thank you, Ashley, not only for stopping and helping Owen but also for setting an example for all of us to follow in 2012. And if you are out there, please contact me at [email protected].
I’ve never interviewed a guardian angel before.