GREAT FALLS – In February of 2016, Ruben Perez found himself in a horrifying situation. His daughter was found lying unresponsive after choking. A woman stepped in and performed CPR, saving her life.
“Somebody saved her life and it was like, oh, now it’s my turn to pass that on,” Perez said.
It was time for Ruben to pay it forward.
Last week he was on his typical evening drive when his 7-year-old daughter, Gabriella, spotted something unsettling.
“She said, ‘he looks like he is going to jump, are you going to do something?”
A man was hanging off the railing on the Central Avenue West bridge in Great Falls.
“My initial thought, though, was how long was this guy standing here, and how busy this bridge is, like why didn’t nobody stop?” Ruben said.
Ruben, thankful that Gabriella the only one who wanted to go with him on that drive, made him pull over.
“I just kept trying to relate. Basically, put me in his shoes. We’re all the same, and we all stress. This ain’t the answer. He ended up coming down for me, and cried for a minute,” Perez said.
Ruben and Gabriella waited with the man until police came, the whole time Ruben’s thinking of his own struggles.
“I’m always put in these positions. I don’t know why. This ain’t my first rodeo with helping somebody else. I get put in these positions, and I help somebody else out that really needed some help. It makes me sit back and wonder maybe my problem, my issues, is not all that bad as I always think it is,” Perez said.
And for Gabriella, she does not even realize that ten minutes of her night out with dad, saved another man’s life.
“Life ain’t easy man, if it was easy…this would be a breeze,” Perez said.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News