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6-year-old saves grandpa's life after jet-ski accident: 'He's a true hero'

The 6-year-old boy did the only thing he knew how to when he and his grandpa were both thrown off a jet ski.
/ Source: & Other Stories

Gram Flowers doesn’t know why everyone is calling him a hero.

The 6-year-old boy from Hartselle, Alabama, did the only thing he knew how to when he saw his grandpa struggling in the distance after they were both thrown off a jet ski.

“Well, I had to help Papa Carl,” Gram told

6-year-old saves grandpa from jet-ski accident
Melanie Starbuck

Carl and Melissa Flowers took their family out on their new boat Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day. When the engine started acting up, “Papa Carl” and Gram decided to go for a ride on the jet ski, while the rest of the family stayed back to fix the boat.

They were having a great time out on the water until they hit a wave, which sent them both flying off the jet ski and into the water. Gram, who has been taking emergency swim lessons since he was an infant, saw his grandpa floating a short distance away with his face underwater and bubbles coming out of his nose and mouth, so he swam into action and carried Papa Carl to the jet ski.

The family finally got the boat to start and when they caught up with the jet ski, Gram was in the driver's seat and Papa Carl was lying on the back.

“At first, we thought it was so cute that Gram was pretending to drive,” David Flowers, Gram’s father, told “We then realized something was wrong and got Carl, who was unable to move, onto the boat and called a boat ambulance.”

Melanie Starbuck

Once the ambulance came and Carl was taken to the hospital, the family asked Gram how Papa Carl got back on the jet ski if he wasn’t able to move. That’s when the heroic boy spoke up and said in a casual tone that he had taken him by his arms.

“He told us the story like it was nothing,” David said. “He’s a humble kid who doesn’t like attention, but he has the biggest heart. He would’ve done it for anybody.”

When he saw his great grandparents for the first time after the incident, they asked to hear the story and Gram’s response was, “Am I going to have to tell the story everywhere I go?”

“He doesn’t even realize he saved his grandpa’s life,” William McKee, Gram’s great grandfather, said. “He just did what he had to do.”

Carl's family says he doesn’t remember much from the accident, except for being in the water thinking he was going to drown and praying that he wouldn’t.

“My dad’s a real strong guy,” David said. “At 67 years old, he still goes to the gym every day, so to see him in that shape was pretty scary.”

Doctors believe he suffered a concussion. He’s now at home, recovering.

“When Gram first told us what he had done, we all got teary-eyed,” Lindsey Flowers, Gram’s mom, told “I got emotional because it’s such a crazy thing to hear your 6-year-old say, but we’re so very proud of him. He’s a true hero.”