A man was out driving when a disturbing sight caught his eye. There, on the roadside, was a little girl flagging down cars in her bare feet. Concerned, the driver pulled over to see if he could help – but he had no idea at this point what the child had been through.
Angela Shymanski and her two children, Lexi and Peter, come from Prince George in British Columbia, Canada. However, in June 2015 Angela had taken the five-year-old and ten-week-old on vacation to Calgary.
It had no doubt been a wonderful break, as Angela got to spend precious time with her kids, but on the way home she felt utterly worn out. In fact, the mom felt as though she could drift off at the wheel.
To make the journey less stressful, mom Angela inserted a CD of lullabies into the car stereo. She must have thought that if she could get her two little ones to sleep then she might get them home that much quicker. However, the soothing music did little for her own fatigue.
As a result, Angela decided that once she got to Jasper, Alberta, she would pull over. There, she could perhaps take a break and liven up for the final part of the journey. But the mother of two would never make it that far.
Some time later, a man was traveling down the same highway as the Shymanski family had been, and as he was driving along, he noticed something strange. It was Lexi, and she was standing by the road with no shoes on.
Naturally, the perplexed man pulled over to see if the little girl needed help. However, as she began to speak, he couldn’t believe what she was saying – and, indeed, he thought it was a miracle that she was even alive.
The five-year-old explained that she had been riding home with her mother and brother but that her mom had dropped off to sleep at the wheel. As a result, she had lost control of her SUV, which careered off the road and then tumbled down a 40-foot embankment and on into a tree.
The force of the impact had knocked Lexi unconscious. But when the little girl woke up, she found her brother crying and her mom, unconscious, slumped over the wheel. Although she was young, however, Lexi knew that it was her time to act.
So it was that the little girl somehow managed to open her five-point harness car seat and escape the wreckage. Lexi then scaled the steep embankment in her bare feet, and once she reached the top, she was able to flag down a passing car.
“It’s crazy,” Angela later told the Toronto Metro. “I only can remember one or two times where she got out of her five-point harness previously. She somehow got out, adrenaline or whatever, and barefoot hiked up the embankment.”
The man driving the car that Lexi had stopped then rushed to the crash site. Once there, he pulled baby Peter from the wreckage but was unable to move Angela. He therefore returned to the road and waved down another vehicle – and, miraculously, its driver turned out to be a paramedic.
Moreover, the paramedic possessed a little piece of medical savvy that may just have saved Angela’s life. “If they would have jostled me a little bit, I might have been completely paralyzed,” she explained. “It’s hard to know.”
Meanwhile, at the scene, the paramedic called for help, and before long, a full fire crew and ambulance team arrived to help. The emergency services then transferred the family to a local hospital before airlifting them to a medical facility in Edmonton.
At the medical facility, doctors treated Lexi for minor scratches and bruises. But it was her brother and mom who had sustained the worst of the injuries. Peter had suffered a bleed on his brain, while Angela had broken her back.
Peter furthermore required brain surgery to reduce the swelling. Meanwhile, Angela – who worked as a swimming teacher – was confined to a wheelchair. However, the mom was sure that things would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for her daughter’s actions.
Prior to setting off, Angela had called her husband Travis to tell him that she was going to take a different route home. She ended up missing the turning, however, and if it hadn’t been for Lexi, it would have been very difficult for emergency services to locate the missing car.
“It was only because [Lexi] came up and flagged people down that anybody would have stopped,” Angela told the Toronto Metro. “It’s crazy because the guy who came to see us in the hospital, he said the medics and the firemen needed ropes to get up and down that embankment. She did it barefoot.”
Within a matter of weeks following the accident, the family were back home. And a year later Angela was out of her wheelchair, although she was still undergoing treatment on her spine. The doting mom was, however, just grateful to be alive.
Lexi, though, remained blissfully unaware of the significance of her lifesaving actions. “She just doesn’t know what it means,” Angela told the Toronto Metro. “She’s just five years old and so happy to be home and playing with her dog and her ducks.”