Even on ordinary days, unforeseen events can transform them into starkly different experiences. A family set out for what promised to be a delightful day, only for it to turn into their worst nightmare.
Thanks to a group of teenage boys, the outcome was not as dire as it could have been. Eight-year-old Olivia Heid and her 4-year-old brother RJ were enjoying a beautiful day in their backyard on Harmony Road in Middletown, New Jersey. To make it even more memorable, their parents, Stephanie and Richard Heid, decided on their first-ever snow-sledding adventure.
The family initially aimed for Holmdel Park’s sled hill, which was closed. After seeking suggestions on Facebook, they headed to Beacon Hill Country Club, where they opted for a smaller, less steep hill.
Despite their careful planning, the sledding took a perilous turn when the inflatable sled carrying Olivia and RJ hit a patch of ice near trees and ricocheted into an icy pond. The parents, helpless at the top of the hill, feared they wouldn’t reach the pond in time.
Fortunately, a group of 14-year-old high school freshmen, including Kieran Foley, Joseph Dietrich, Drew Scalice, Ryan Day, and Tyler Armagan, who were also at the hill to sled, stepped in. Having been checking the pond’s frozen condition, they quickly formed a human chain to rescue the children sinking into the pond.
Recalling the incident, Kieran explained, “I didn’t see anyone else be able to do anything, so I just jumped in. It wasn’t deep, so I could walk right over to them. I picked them up, and my friends formed a chain, and we got the boy first, and handed him to my friends. Then I got the girl.”
Stephanie marveled at the boys’ quick thinking, especially their instinctive ability to form a human chain. Their readiness stemmed from being members of Middletown Boy Scouts Troop 47, where they likely acquired the necessary skills through training.
Despite facing challenges during the rescue, the boys displayed remarkable humility when offered a cash reward. Their focus was solely on ensuring the well-being of Stephanie’s kids. The heartwarming exchange left Stephanie joyfully sharing the boys’ assurance to her children: “You’re safe now. You’re going to get a hot chocolate and a warm bath at home.”