It was a case of being at the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.
We’ll blame it on luck or fate, but we often forget that moments are not defined by circumstances but by how we rise to meet them.
A 17-year-old from Middletown, Connecticut found himself in a serendipitous situation one afternoon. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to be hailed a hero for saving the life of a crossing guard.
Dylan Sassu, a high school junior, was on his way to his wrestling practice when he reached a busy intersection of Russel Street and Ridge Road.
At that moment, he saw a figure lying face-down on the pavement.
Realizing that it was a person, Sassu immediately pulled over and jumped out of his car.
“I knew something was wrong right away because she was face down on the ground and it didn’t seem like she was moving or conscious. So pulled over my car over here and I jumped right out,” Sassu recalled to WFSB.
The middle school crossing guard, according to him, was not breathing well.
Sassu knew that she was not okay.
He immediately called 911 and stayed on the scene as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. All the while he was asking the crossing guard to breathe in through her nose then out through her mouth. He was also asking her questions to keep her alert and conscious. Simple questions like if she was in pain, or when her birthday was. He even offered to call her daughter for her.
The crossing guard, Catherine Russo, said she tripped and lost consciousness.
And her situation could’ve gone much worse if the teen was not in the right place at the right time.
Strangely, however, the road where Sassu saw Russo was not a route he typically takes. He explained that he was coming from a friend’s house down that road and doesn’t usually come up that route. That day he just did.
But more than being at the right place at the right time, Sassu did the right thing.
“He’s my hero. It’s hard to even explain to him how he saved me, how he helped me and was there for me,” Russo told NBC Connecticut.
Russo was left with a broken nose.
She also had a lot of scratches and bruises but other than that, she was okay.
If it was fate or luck, no one seems interested to find out. Sassu was just thankful because his CPR and first aid training kicked in even if he never imagined himself being in a situation where he actually had to use it.
In the end, the high schooler was relieved that things panned out as well as he hoped.
He was given the Good Samaritan Award by the Middleton Board of Education for his actions. The inscription on his award says that it was a reminder for all that we must help those in need, most especially during times of crisis.
“It just feels weird to take pride in it. I know I did the right thing, but it was just something that had to be done. It was the right thing to do,” Sassu said to NBC Connecticut.
And while it’s surreal that two lives were forever changed when he took the rarely-taken road, one thing remains clear — his actions that day saved a life.