Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

Man Selflessly Gives His Life To Save 7-Yr-Old Girl Who Fell In Freezing River

Close up of a man named Jaime Espinoza smiling wide.

Taking a day to hang out with friends, a man named Jaime Espinoza has no idea that he’ll soon be known for saving a little girl’s life. But that’s exactly what happened nearly a year ago at the Slick Rock in Three Rivers. Here, Jaime and his friends spend time together barbequing. But their time together is cut short when calls for help capture their attention.

The person they hear turns out to be a mom. The rushing river water is too much for her daughter, and she needs help ASAP. Without hesitating, Jaime leaps in to help rescue the small 7-year-old. By the time first responders arrive, they’re able to save the girl and a man. Sadly, Jaime is nowhere to be found.

Close up of a man named Jaime Espinoza smiling wide.

Jaime’s family, including his sister Alexandra Romero, spend the next 30 days camped out, hoping he’ll be found alive. But weeks turn into months and, in October 2023, they learn that his body has been recovered.

“Honestly, he would’ve done it again. He’d do it in a heartbeat,” Alexandra says, adding that the last words Jaime was heard saying were, “What if that was my daughter?”

Man Saves a Little Girl’s Life at the Cost of His Own

Still, this doesn’t take away the sting of losing someone you love. That’s why, every day, Jaime’s family finds ways to honor his memory. This can be seen in the way they remind his now 2-year-old daughter, Yazmin, of how amazing her dad was to everyone.

Jaime Espinoza smiles as he lays on a couch and holds his daughter. She has a pacifier in her mouth and is looking up at the camera.

“We talk to her about her dad and we remind her every day how much her daddy loved her,” she says.

Now, nearly a year after his death, Alexandra and her family have plans to honor and celebrate Jaime in a big way. On the one-year anniversary, April 29, they’ll be hosting an event at the Veterans Memorial Building in Visalia from 3 pm to 8 pm. Folks who knew Jaime are welcome, of course, but so are those who simply want to show their support.

Jaime smiles as he looks down at his baby in his arms. Next to him posing for the photo is a woman and someone in the Chuck-E-Cheese costume.

In addition to this celebration, Jaime’s mom has one request: She wants to meet the family of the girl that he helped save.

“My mom would like for that family to come forward,” Alexandra shares. “She feels like that is the closure she needs, that final healing. She needs to see whose life he saved.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.