It was a lovely time for a cruise, cold weather outside and the promise of warm weather to come as we headed down the coast. Loaded up with baggage, we took off for the Baltimore Harbor, full of expectation. Little did we know that it was a vacation we weren’t soon to forget!
All cruises come with excursions and this one was no different. But excursions in the Bahamas are usually to a beach. Having lived on the east coast for more than 10 years, we are used to beaches and thought that perhaps we’d just get a cab and do our own excursion. Save a little cash. Once the boat landed we gathered up our gear and headed out to get a cab.
The first part of our adventure was a learning experience. I’ve ridden in cabs all over the country and even some overseas. But nothing could prepare me for this cab ride! Riding a cab in the Bahamas is a little like jumping in an inflatable bounce house while it spins at about 60 mph. As I gripped my small children and exchanged worried glances with my husband, the thought began to run through my mind that perhaps we’d made a mistake in trying to create our own excursion. If only I knew how true that fleeting thought would be.
Once we arrived at the beach, thankful to be alive and setting our feet on the ground once again, we trekked up the path to a beautiful pale sandy beach. After laying out our towels, my husband and I sat down to watch the kids play. They are used to the beach and immediately set about with their buckets and shovels to build a sand castle.
As any good sand castle creator knows, you can’t make a good castle without a little water. As my son set off to get water, I thought nothing of it and stared around and the women peddling beads and t-shirts on the beach.
“Mommy! MOMMY! MOMMY!” At a glance, I knew there was trouble. The water had gone out, as waves do, and the grade of the beach was easily 45 degrees.
I set off at a run for my son, who was seemingly being pulled out to sea. Now, I don’t consider myself to be the fastest runner, but I was a sprinter in high school, albeit many years ago. My training ingrained, I ran as fast as my legs could possibly go down the beach to the water. But not fast enough. Before I knew it, the wave was cresting at about 4 feet and my son was about to go under.
“Get him! Get him!” I frantically screamed. Frantic thoughts crashed through my head. "I can't run fast enough! Oh my beautiful son! Please! Anyone!"
Then something miraculous happened. Someone did get him, by the edge of his rash guard (those things are like a religion to me now!). The man snatched him up in the instant that my son would have been drown; bear hugged him and went under. Second later, both of them emerged, my beautiful son still with us.
I can never thank that man enough. I could never repay him for saving my son’s life that day, but I tried. I hope he could see in my face the eternal gratitude I felt for him.
The scene has replayed itself in my head so many times since that day. My life could have been changed forever. I don’t know how I would have gone on without my precious child. But, thanks to him, my gratitude for the kindness of strangers knows no bounds. I can only hope that my contributions on this earth can compare to what was offered to me on that day on a beautiful beach in the Bahamas.