A mother and daughter from the Hawaiian island of Maui expressed gratitude to a man who helped save them as they ran for their lives from fast-moving fire.
Lahaina, Maui, residents Lani Williams and her mother, Sincerity Mirkovich, were in grave danger as wildfires rapidly approached their town.
Like many others, they got into their car, hoping to drive away from the approaching fire they said Thursday during an appearance on “Good Morning America.”
“Embers are already falling down on us,” Williams explained to the show’s hosts, “so we get in the car and then, already, traffic is at like a standstill.
“Then we see another fire on the side of us, a whole house,” continued Williams. “We’re in the car and a whole tree is on fire, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to die.'”
The dire situation forced the women to contemplate an alternative escape route: abandoning their vehicle, scaling a seawall and jumping into the ocean.
Ditching the car and making a run for it posed a significant challenge for Mirkovich, who relies on a walker for mobility.
A good Samaritan, Benny Reinicke, noticed their despair and offered his assistance. He instructed Mirkovich to lean on him, ensuring he could safely carry her over the seawall.
“He’s like, ‘Trust me. Trust me. I promise. I got you,'” Williams said, adding he did. “He said, ‘Auntie, put your weight on me. I got you.’” The three floated eight hours in the ocean until returning to shore seemed safe.
An August 9 report from Breitbart News highlighted how many Maui residents sought refuge from the engulfing flames by jumping into the ocean.
Williams and Mirkovich lost contact with Reinicke, but the three were reunited during the morning talk show.
“There’s no way morally I could just walk past that and just save myself, you know,” Reinicke remarked. “It’s just not hard. It’s just the way my algorithm is in my head is. No way.”
Reinicke’s selflessness resonated with many social media users.
“True American HERO!” commented one user, “Thank you!!!”
“What a wonderful caring man!” remarked another, “Thank God you’re all safe.”