In the middle of the night in Anaheim, California, a man experiencing homelessness risked his own life to make sure a desperate stranger could walk away from a potentially fatal mistake.
It all started around 1:40 a.m. outside UCI Medical Center in Orange County. Firefighters from Orange County Fire Authority Truck 85 were delivering a patient to the emergency department when a man hopped into the massive fire truck and took off.
Police were able to track the stolen rig using GPS, and they began a slow-speed pursuit that went on for more than an hour. The truck never went over 40 mph, side-swiping a guardrail and some traffic cones along the way. The driver refused to yield to the officers, creeping on and off several major speedways and busy city streets. The stolen vehicle was crawling down Brookhurst Street in Anaheim when, suddenly, an unlikely hero appeared.
Richard Lynn lives on the streets, and he decided on the spot to place himself directly in the truck’s path to end the chase.
As police stood back and waited for their opportunity to intervene, Richard spoke to the driver through the fire truck’s windshield for over 20 minutes. He later told reporters that he was worried the thief would be hurt if he didn’t surrender. He was determined not to let that happen on his watch!
After pleading for him to get out of the vehicle, Richard finally convinced the suspect to listen to reason. He stepped out of the truck and lay flat on the ground, complying with police as he was arrested. Richard stood back with his own arms up as the cops did their work.
Witness Mitch Fecler said he’s never seen anything like the scene that unfolded before him that night.
“It’s just crazy how the homeless guy walked up and in front of the fire truck and started talking to him through the windshield,” Mitch explained. “They just kept telling him, please get out of the truck. We don’t want to hurt you, and finally, the guy opened the door and surrendered peacefully.”
We may never know what made this desperate man decide to steal a fire truck, but it’s good to know that people like Richard are out there looking out for others! The night could have had a tragic ending, but instead, nobody got hurt, and the fire truck received only minor damage that can be repaired.
Share this story to remind others that everyone has value and that anyone can make a huge difference in someone else’s life!
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