A 92-year-old war veteran finally had the opportunity to meet the 5-year-old girl he risked his life to rescue at a racetrack two years ago.
ABC News reports, John Shear is hailed as a hero not for his strength, but his bravery after saving a young girl from a runaway racehorse.
Shear has worked as a guard for 51 years at the Santa Anita Park racetrack in California. Two years ago, he was keeping his normal watch when he heard someone shout there was horse on the loose.
Shear shouted to everyone to clear out of the way and he said there was a little girl standing in front of the barreling horse.
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Shear did not think twice and jumped in front of 5-year-old Roxy Key to shield her from the horse.
"I knew I was going to get hit," Shear said. "I thought there was a possibility I was going to die but you cannot stop and think should I or shouldn't I. There is a five-year-old girl. I'm 90-years-old. I have had a life. She hasn't had a life. You got to save that life."
The horse was running full speed toward them, knocking both Shear and Key to the ground.
"She got up and I was shaking. I was in shock," Michael Key, Roxy’s father, said. "And she’s like, ‘I’m fine, papa, I’m fine,' and then she looked over and saw Mr. Shear on the ground and there was blood hemorrhaging and she lost it, she just lost it."
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Michael Key says that if Shear had not been there to shield his daughter, she would have died, the Daily Mail reported.
Shear was critically injured and stayed in the hospital for seven weeks, but says he wanted to see the young girl whose life he saved.
Two years later, Shear met the now 8-year-old Roxy at a ballet studio where she was about to perform.
“I kept saying to myself, is that Roxy? Where is she? I was on pins and needles waiting to see her. And when I finally see her come out and dance, it felt so exhilarating I can hardly explain. I felt so emotional in my heart,” Shear said.
Roxy’s mother told Shear that he was her daughter’s guardian angel, and Michael Key said, "He didn't save a daughter, he saved a family."