On October 14, 1987– in Midland, Texas– an 18-month-old baby named Jessica McClure fell through an 8-inch opening in the ground in her backyard and plunged into a well. For the next 58 hours, Jessica– dubbed “Baby Jessica” by the media– waited 22 feet underground to be rescued; she had no idea that, for those 58 hours, she was the most famous person in the world.
Hundreds of rescues worked throughout day and night to retrieve Baby Jessica from the well, and each rescue attempt was televised for the watchful, eager eyes of literally millions of people. Hearts around the world melted when paramedics and contractors reported hearing Baby Jessica singing “Winnie the Pooh” while within the well, letting them know she was alive. When she was finally rescued, viewers breathed a sigh of relief, calling it a miracle.
It seems Jessica herself– now 30 years old– would agree. “I had God on my side that day,” she said in a recent interview with People. “My life is a miracle.”
Jessica has no memory of the event, and she barely shows any physical signs of the traumatic incident. Her right foot– which was pinned above her head during the entire ordeal– had to be reconstructed and is now smaller than the left, and she has a scar on her head from where her face rubbed against the wall . Other than that, she appears to be a perfectly normal 30-year-old mom. Those who know who she is, however, forever think of her as Baby Jessica, the infant drawn out of a well.
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In fact, friends and strangers alike still often refer to her as “Baby Jessica,” the name which ran across headlines and through the minds of millions of concerned strangers 3 decades ago
Now Jessica is married with two kids, ages 9 and 7. The family enjoys a quiet life together. Jessica is a special-education teacher for elementary school students and her husband is a foreman at a pipe supply company.
A trust fund was set up by people from all over the world who followed the story of Baby Jessica’s rescue. The donations added up to $1.2 million dollars, but Jessica and her family now live in a humble home. Unfortunately, most of the money was lost during the stock market dive of 2008, but Jessica has an amazing attitude.
“I think it’s amazing that people would come together like that to donate money to a child that was not theirs,” she said. “I appreciate everything they did.”
Now that her children are old enough to understand what happened to their mom, Jessica is using the incident to teach them important lessons about life. “I’m hoping my children learn from [my rescue] to always be humble,” she said. “And to remember that if you look hard enough, there are so many good people in this world.”
But– even though she’s famously referred to as a miracle– she hopes her children don’t feel stifled by her legacy. “To me [my children are] so much more,” she says. “And can be so much more.”
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