Four Canadian teens are being called heroes after they did the right thing for someone in need when they believed a situation they witnessed was suspicious. While skateboarding at a mall’s underground parking lot, Arnaud Nimenya, Carsyn Wright, James Hielema and Starlyn Rives-Perez witnessed a girl who appeared to be drunk being dragged by a man who said he was her father.
According to the boys, the man was forcefully walking with the 15-year-old girl, as Wright told CBC News: “She was screaming and yelling. She just wanted to be out of there. She was all scuffed up and dirty.”
Faced with this situation, the teens knew that something was wrong, so they bravely approached the man to get more information. When they questioned him, he insisted he was the girl’s father and that everything was fine. The girl didn’t say anything or ask for help, so the boys left the parking garage, but the whole scene didn’t sit well with them.
Wright explained: “You don’t want to really think of the worst in somebody like that. You don’t want that situation to be real, so you just brush it off and hope for the best.”
The skateboarders decided to turn around a few minutes later, however, to check on the girl, discovering that the man was sexually assaulting her. They were stunned but managed to spring into action to rescue the girl.
Nimenya noted: “You walk in, and you see something like that, and you freeze. You don’t know what to do.” Thankfully, as they approached the man, he left the girl and tried to escape from the scene.
He continued: “He was trying to walk out and walk away from us,” adding, “He pushed me aggressively out of the way, kinda like just gives me the smile, like, ‘I can do this. You can’t do anything about it.’”
The teenagers were determined to keep the man from getting away and one boy stayed with the girl while the other three chased after the attacker on foot, finally catching up with him.
The man fought back, grabbing one of the teen’s skateboards and using it to attack the boys. The police showed up moments later and the man was arrested and charged with sexual assault.
If not for the teens’ decision to turn back and make sure the girl was okay, this situation would have had a much worse outcome. The local police thanked the skateboarders for their heroism, inviting them to the Chief’s Awards Gala, where they received an award recognizing them for their exceptional act of bravery.
When the police contacted the boys to tell them about the award, they were initially worried, as Nimenya remarked: “”We always thought we were going to be in trouble, because we fought with him. When they called us, we didn’t wanna answer.”
When CBC News interviewed the teens at the awards ceremony, they explained why they turned back to help the girl, with Wright noting: “You can’t just leave a girl and she was a young girl. She was 15 years old and she needed help and we needed to be there for her. I hope anybody else who’s in that situation would come to her help because it’s just the humane thing to do.”