The good Samaritans who rushed out to help a driver experiencing a "medical episode" in her car on May 5 have had their good deeds rewarded.
Over a week after the incident, Florida's Boynton Beach Police Department recognized Jannette Rivera, Juan Chavez Jr., Michael Edelstein, David Formica, DaVida Peele, Marko Bartolone, Muriel Vaughns and Robin Fox for springing to action last week after witnessing a gray car slowly roll into an intersection with its driver, Laurie Rabyor, unconscious at the steering wheel. The dramatic video footage of the rescue quickly went viral and led to a Friday press conference, which honored them for their service, quick thinking and courage. Each person, including Rabyor, had a chance to speak.
"I saw a lady chasing a car through an intersection in South Florida … and I thought, 'Wow, she’s really mad at that other lady!'" said Bartolone, who then figured out what was happening. "I thought, 'I really can't stop a car.' But then I see Chavez ... and I thought, well, with a couple of people, we could probably stop the car."
"I feel like I just did what anyone would do," he added.
According to a statement in the caption of the original incident video, which was posted on Facebook by the police, Rabyor had "suffered a medical episode while driving." Rivera, a co-worker who had seen Rabyor slumped over her steering wheel, jumped into the street and began waving her arms to attract the attention of other motorists.
"I’m stunned to be standing here," said Edelstein at the press conference. "I was in the right place at the right time. ... I was the fool that jumped in front of the car and then tried to punch the window out."
Several individuals, including Edelstein, leaped into action to find a way to stop the car, put it into park and then push it into a nearby 7-Eleven parking lot. A nurse there helped Rabyor until the fire department arrived.
"I don't remember any of it," Rabyor said on Friday. "They all just came together to help a little old lady and I appreciate it so, so much. ... It is so wonderful to see something nice today instead of all this crap that’s going on in the world and even in our community. ... It’s so nice to see something nice."
"I tried to do my best," said Rivera.
The press conference was the culmination of tracking down those who had helped. Each person was awarded a Royal Caribbean cruise and a $2,000 gift card, plus flowers.
Formica noted: "Teamwork, perfect strangers just coming together, and what a beautiful thing it was to see ... All you have to do is just open your eyes and be aware of all the amazing things happening around us."