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While reporting on near misses and heroic rescues, I’ve realized how many good folks are constantly protecting us all from disaster. Of course this includes the millions of working police officers, firefighters, and first responders. But time and again, I find everyday folks eager to help making all the difference. Barbers Osvaldo Lugo and Rafael Santana are those kinds of people.

Imagine for a minute that you’re a mother taking the city bus in Hartford, Connecticut. You are waiting at the bus stop and take your eyes off your toddler daughter for just a second. When you look back down, she’s nowhere to be seen.

This nightmare came true for one Connecticut mother. And it got worse. When she did spot her daughter, the little girl was far away, running into a busy intersection.

Here’s the silver lining. The toddler scooted past the LookSharp Barbershop. In security footage, you can see her whiz by the front windows. Osvaldo Lugo and Rafael Santana were both in the middle of giving haircuts. They exchanged a look, dropped their clippers, and both dashed for the door.

Barber lines up a beard during a haircut.
Working barber | Agustin Fernandez W via Unsplash

Lugo said, “When I saw the baby running down the street, I knew I had to act…I couldn’t stop to think. All I thought was this was a recipe for disaster.”

Without a moment to spare, the two men wrenched open the door, flew down the steps, and sprinted after the little girl. If it were a race to the busy road, it would have been a photo finish.

The toddler was about to take a step into the crowded intersection, work trucks whizzing by, when Lugo got in front of her and scooped her into his arms. As Lugo comforted her, Santana hunted up and down the street for her parents.

Lugo didn’t blame the child’s mother in the least. “I know what it’s like to be a dad…they’ll run all over if you don’t keep an eye on them.” The hero said he was just happy to help. “I’m humbled to be the one to be there.”

Next, read about the dad who rescued a mother and baby from a sinking car with ratchet straps, or watch the security footage of the barbers’ heroic rescue in the video embedded below: