If you were the only person who can save someone else’s life, would you do it? For some, this may be a difficult question. Who would not have thought so? After all, it is a matter of life and death. It is a situation that might save someone’s life, or possibly endanger yours in exchange. It is a situation that entails sacrifice.
That was the situation an 11-year-old boy faced at his tender age. Just the day before New Year, an accident happened in the apartment the boy and his family is residing in. A man was found drowning in the pool.
Only the boy can save him.
Advaik Nandikotkur is an 11-year-old boy who lives with his parents, Lalitha Mareddy and Raghu Nandikotkur, in Eagan apartment complex in St. Paul, Minnesota. The family of three originally came from India.
Advaik’s mother Lalitha recalls that tragic event in an interview with CNN. She said she saw an unconscious man at the bottom of the pool, about eight feet deep. The unnamed 34-year-old man was found with his hands stretched out, his eyes and mouth wide open.
Fearing for the life of the man, Lalitha asked for help. There were nine men surrounding the pool that time, but none of them knows how to swim. Her husband Raghu attempted to save the man with a floating tube, but did not succeed. He said he could not go further to the deep side of the pool.
“It was pushing me up and I was unable to grab him,” he told news outlet CNN.
It was then when Lalitha recalled that her son Advaik has been attending swimming classes since they moved in three years ago.
“I saw him go to the bottom of the pool and collect rings and come up. That just flashed in my mind,” said Lalitha.
Lalitha then asked his son for help.
But the young boy was hesitant at first. “He’s probably too heavy for me,” said Advaik to his mother, upon seeing the man.
The man was about twice the size of the only 80-pound boy.
Despite the hesitation, the 11-year-old boy jumped into the pool. Advaik grabbed the man’s wrist, pulled him up from the depth. When they reached the surface, his father helped him pull the man from the pool. Their neighbors helped as well.
Advaik’s uncle, Suseel Kumar Nandikotkur, began to perform CPR on the unconscious man. He said he never had formal training on doing CPR. “It’s based on my experience watching it in movies and in my school days,” narrated Suseel Kumar to the media outlet.
Minutes later, the once unconscious man began to move. He moved his eyes, then his hands. The paramedics also arrived at the scene and gave the man oxygen. He was then brought to the hospital for succeeding treatment.
The people who witnessed the incident admired the bravery of the boy. Even the police themselves were impressed by the heroic deed of the fifth grader. Police Officer Aaron Machtemes told CNN that the event was almost unheard of.
“I’ve never heard of a boy jumping in and saving an adult from a pool,” said the police officer. “Officers on the scene commented the man was very lucky to be alive.”
Advaik, on the other hand, said he was just relieved that he saved the man. “Mom said to jump in. I said he’s probably too heavy but I jumped in anyway,” Advaik told media outlet KARE 11 as he spoke of his experience saving the man. “I just had that hope in me.”
A day after the incident, the man who Advaik saved from drowning paid a visit to the family. Narrated Advaik, “He said thank you, and then I went to another room because I’m not really interested in that grown-up talk.” It was then revealed that the man gave Advaik a Macy’s gift card worth $50 as a token of gratitude.
But for the young boy, the material reward does not matter. For Advaik, what matters the most is that the man was saved from possible death “If someone didn’t save him, he could’ve died or gotten badly injured,” said Advaik. “It would be hard for his family to get through.”
Aside from the gift card which he received, Advaik was also nominated for the “Life Saving Award”. The Eagan Police nominated the young boy for their department’s honorable distinction. Police officers were greatly impressed by Advaik’s humility. Narrated Police Officer Aaron Machtemes, “He’s very calm about it. Just matter-of-fact. He did what he needed to do. And I think that’s really cool that he’s just like, ‘Yep, I did it.’”
Advaik’s parents, on the other hand, were very proud of their son. They are grateful that they sent their son to swimming classes. Said his father Raghu, “That was always in our mind, that we should give him some swimming lessons, some survival skills for his own sake.”
His father added that he himself plans to take swimming classes as well.
Advaik’s mother also shares the same sentiment. She said she wished she had taken swimming classes when she was younger. But unfortunately, her father did not allow her.
“In our culture, it’s not a usual thing to do – to go for swimming lessons, especially for girls,” said Lalitha.
Advaik Nandikotkur’s heroic deed will never be forgotten. Not just by the man he saved, but also the people who have known of his story. Advaik’s bravery serves as an inspiration for everyone, especially for the youth who might have thought that they could not make any difference in this world. Anyone can be of help to another. It only takes selflessness to do so.
So, if you were to face a similar situation, would you be like Advaik?