A hero can come in many shapes and sizes and, in this case, occupations. Acknowledging someone’s bravery can often lead to encouraging others to be brave and act on instincts when they think something may not be right with any given situation. Whether it be someone taking time out of their day to offer aid to someone who is ill or disabled, walking an elderly person across the street, or simply being a listening ear for someone who is going through a heartbreaking tragedy and may feel a little bit alone, heroes are needed to lift spirits and encourage empathy in today’s society.
There are many people in need in different ways, and it just takes one person to make a long-lasting impact and change the course of someone else’s life for the better. A good example of the chain of events started by one act of kindness is when you’re at your local coffee shop and the person in front of you pays for your order. While this may not be “heroic” by any one person’s definition of the word, if the chain continues with each person continuing to pay for someone behind them, someone in need may eventually be affected and that one small positive act could change someone’s negative mindset to a positive one.
No one will ever be able to tell the impact that one heroic act can have on the life of someone in need of help. It could mean not having to pay for your morning coffee, or it could be the difference between life and death, like in the story about to be told. Savannah Pritchett could never have guessed she would be someone’s hero when she went to her normal shift at a gas station in Waterford, California.
As she was doing her normal tasks at the store, a woman entered and changed the course of her life forever. As the woman rushed into the gas station and grabbed Savannah’s wrist, a story beyond anyone’s wildest belief began to unfold as a hero emerged in the form of a gas station employee.
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The first words that the woman spoke to Savannah were a plea for help. She had been kidnapped by four men, and two of them had guns. There was no time for questions and Savannah had to make a decision fast. That is when she knew what she had to do.
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Pritchett rushed to the front of the store, locked the front door and brought the woman to the bathroom, where she handed her a cell phone and told her to call the police immediately. Locking the door behind her, she walked out into the store ready for a confrontation.
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The kidnappers were at the door, trying their hardest to open it and get inside the store. Savannah managed to remain calm as she unlocked the door and told them the woman was in the bathroom. She pretended as though everything was normal, even though she knew lives were at stake at that very second.
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As reported by Good News Network, Pritchett was quoted by KFSN as saying, “I knew that if I left the door locked, they would have caught on to something and probably took off. So I went back up there, and I unlocked the door. They seriously had no idea that I knew anything.”
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One of the men involved in the kidnapping was 18-year-old Anthony Sandoval, who was seen on surveillance footage entering the gas station mini mart with another teen. Sandoval claimed he had a prosthetic foot and cancer as his attempt to access the bathroom where the woman became more desperate.
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When asked why she had locked the door of the bathroom, Savannah stated that the woman inside had started her period and requested some privacy. That is when the teens started to panic, hoping that they would be able to exit the gas station without anyone discovering what they were hiding.
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The next few moments were a race against the clock. Savannah anxiously awaited the arrival of police as she kept an eye on the kidnappers, making sure the woman stayed locked inside the bathroom. As the kidnappers neared the bathroom, police burst through the door of the gas station.
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Video footage from a surveillance camera showed a deputy arriving on scene after Pritchett refused to help hide one of the teens. The deputy was armed at the time of arrival due to the severe nature of the crime being committed. From there, the arrests were made and the full story was able to be revealed.
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Two of the kidnappers were immediately placed in police custody as a search began for the other two men involved in the captivity of the woman. Two juveniles were later arrested in relation to the case, and all four were found to have ties to gangs and other criminal activity in the area.
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The woman was very grateful for Savannah’s quick thinking and heroic act that may have saved her life. But as the details of the kidnapping started to be revealed, it was evident that this was much more than just a case of a woman being held against her will.
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In addition to kidnapping her, the men involved also sexually assaulted the woman. When they came into the gas station after Pritchett had locked her in the bathroom, the men tried to convince the employee that they also needed to use the restroom, in order to gain access to the woman once more.
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The woman had apparently been taken the day before and held hostage against her will. Her only relief came when the men had to stop at this gas station and, luckily, they chose the one Savannah Pritchett happened to be employed at. She was able to convince the men that she needed to use the bathroom upon arrival and made it into the store unaccompanied.
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The woman had told Savannah that she had been kidnapped in Fresno and her captors were planning on taking her to San Francisco. San Francisco is a main hub in the United States when it comes to sex trafficking and other gang related criminal activity. From this information, Pritchett knew that the woman needed help immediately.
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However, because of Pritchett’s quick thinking and calm demeanor, the suspects never knew that Savannah was aware of the situation and that she was helping the woman in the bathroom escape her kidnappers. They believed that she was just an innocent bystander instead of a heroic savior to the woman they were planning on continuing to abuse.
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“She came in and was super calm, and she grabbed me and when she grabbed me she was very, very shaky, she was like ‘Please, please help me,’ Pritchett recalled as she recounted the story to CBS Sacramento. “I saw in her eyes and how bad she was shaking that oh no, she was scared. That poor girl, she was scared for sure.”
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The kidnappers are now facing a long list of charges in relation to this case, as well as other criminal activity in the area that they have been linked to. This goes to show that Pritchett did even more good than she originally realized by helping to get dangerous criminals off the streets.
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Very little information has been released about the woman who Pritchett saved. This victim is preferring to keep her identity private. However, it has been reported that she is a woman from Tulare County in California, which is just south of Fresno, where she was kidnapped.
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Pritchett doesn’t believe that she is any sort of hero for doing what she did. In many discussions with news personnel after the story was revealed, she is quoted saying that she “was just trying to help a woman who said she needed some help.” But the woman and others around the nation are praising her for her actions.
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Savannah is used to being a normal 24-year-old, working at the gas station and ensuring she works hard for herself and for others. Pritchett has been described in many ways, but ‘hero’ seems to be the most appropriate description thanks to what she did for someone in need.
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