Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that suggest more and more people all across the country are performing random acts of kindness even amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A California firefighter was praised after being spotted comforting a young girl while her mother and sister were treated for injuries they got in a car crash.
A big rig crossed into oncoming traffic on a highway near San Diego, according to KNSD. Inside one of the cars the truck hit was a mother, along with her two young daughters and another adult family member.
While the mother and one of the girls were being treated for their injuries, Heartland Fire & Rescue Department firefighter paramedic Ryan Lopez took on the task of comforting the 4-year-old daughter, who was uninjured.
A news camera captured the touching moment as Lopez held the girl in his arms, rocking her back ad forth, side to side.
After a few moments, Lopez carried the child over to the fire engine, where he sat her down and gave her a drink of water. Then, she was in his arms once again, resting her head on his shoulder.
Lopez spoke to KNSD about the moment.
"She really just wanted to hang on and just feel safe," he said of the 4-year-old.
After determining that the girl was not seriously injured, Lopez, who has a 2-month-old daughter, said he knew the next most important thing to do was to comfort her.
The firefighter said that he considers what he did to simply be part of his job, adding that any other first responder would have done the same.
"It's not something I would ever seek out to take any recognition for," he said. "I know someone else in my same position would've done the same thing."
The California Highway Patrol said the driver of the big rig lost control while driving southbound on State Route 125 and crashed into a metal guardrail. He then crossed into the northbound lanes before striking two vehicles. In one vehicle, a Chevy, were 57-year-old Nancy Bauerlein and her daughter, 29-year-old Jennifer Thompson-Campbell. They were both killed in the crash.
The other vehicle struck by the truck was a black Kia Sorrento carrying the two girls, ages 4 and 6, as well as their mother and another adult.
The 6-year-old girl suffered a broken neck in the accident and was having trouble breathing. She was taken to a nearby children's hospital.
The 4-year-old girl who was helped by Lopez had only minor injuries.
The girls' mother suffered minor injuries as well and was able to ride in the ambulance with her 6-year-old daughter.
Readers shared their thoughts on the story on the Newsiosity Facebook page.
"Praying all will be ok," one reader commented. "God bless the fireman for his kindness. God bless all."
"He said it was just a normal reaction because he's a dad," another user wrote. "That's being humble on top of being a hero."