What do you think you would do if you saw someone that needed some help? Of course, you could choose to keep walking. If you are not the type to turn a blind eye, you can also interfere directly or ask others for help. In the end, you never really know which one you will do unless you are in that situation already.
Just Another Day
For Carsyn Wright, Starlyn Rives-Perez, Arnaud Nimenya, and James Hielema, it was nothing more than just another night at the local skate park. They met up in the underground parking lot to spend some time together and practice some tricks. It was getting late, so they decided it was time to pack up.
They halted when they saw an upset teenage girl with two older men. They were headed for the parking lot. Her disorderly state stood out. They noted that one of the men were forceful towards her too.
He was walking with the girl right in front of him, although he dropped the position when he saw they had company in the area. While this was not alarming in itself, something made the boys stop dead in their tracks.
Stop To Check
They were on their way out of the underground parking garage when something made them pause. What was it that they saw that made them react in such a way? Let us find out.
She Was Yelling
One of the boys explained, “She was screaming and yelling.” Carsyn Wright even expounded, “She just wanted to be out of there.” The four boys started to get more suspicious as soon as this happened.
They Were Intimidated
“The guy was dressed in very nice clothes… and the girl was all dirty, she was crying, her nose was bleeding,” explained Wright. They watched the group more closely and asked them for an explanation.
Even though there were four of them and only two of the men, they still feared questioning them. After all, they had no idea how strong they might be. The bigger of the two said that he was actually her dad.
Had To Trust Them
After they heard this, the boys decided to back off. They thought that maybe she had been drinking and got caught doing this. What made them move away was the fact that she did not ask them for help or showed disagreement with what they said. Of course, they knew that they had no right to question them.
It was beginning to get late, so the four boys decided to go home as they originally planned. They took their skateboards with them and tried to forget what they saw. After all, it was much easier to believe and trust what the man said. Besides, she would have reacted if it were not the case.
Nighttime In Calgary
Still, they could not convince themselves that all was fine. In general, Canada is a safe place. Calgary is pretty safe too, but they knew that it did not stop bad things from ever happening. The boys did not want to assume that they were lying but still second guessed what they heard.
It was true that the girl appeared intoxicated. However, they felt more uneasy the more they thought about what they just saw. Did they make the right choice when they backed down? One detail that stood out was how the father acted confidently.
You might even call him arrogant. They could not imagine a real dad acting like that. There was no reason for a dad to behave like that. There was one more detail that made them change their minds.
“She was all scuffed up and dirty,” Carsyn recalled. Based on what they saw, it looked like things were not good between the girl and the man. You can imagine how shocked they were to see him then hoist his daughter over his shoulder! It was like she was a bag of potatoes or something.
They Had To Know
They noticed that she was resisting. The teens felt the instinct to come back. After all, what would they do if something happened to her? They could at least put their minds at ease even if they were wrong.
The longer they thought about the situation, the more they felt convinced that it was wrong to leave the girl there. Why were they even there at that time of the night anyway? The realization hit them hard.
Running To Help
Something bad was happening there. They went back to the garage and prayed that they would make it in time. The boys ran as fast as their legs would let them. They did not mind if they ran out of breath.
The last push they needed was Wright saying, “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.”
On A Search
When they got to the entrance of the underground parking garage, they did not see any of the three. They did figure out where they could have gone. The boys only had to go in and look for the girl.
At the time, they had no idea that there was more to the situation than meets the eye. When they got to the underground parking garage beneath the Chinook Centre, they entered the Calgary underbelly…
No Going Back
It was already too late for them to go back at the time. In reality, there was a growing issue in this area. The mall might look nice from the outside, but it was hiding terrifying secrets behind the scenes.
Officer Arthur L. Doner had been doing his research into the rising criminal activity in the southwest area of Calgary. However, he could not find anything substantial. For him, it was starting to feel like the rival gangs and their dealings were like a mythical creature.
To The Rescue
He might take down a member, but it would then feel like two more would pop out of the blue. He had no idea that there were four teens who were about to take down Hydra without extra help.
The four boys explored the dark underground parking lot lying below the Chinook Centre. They all knew that there was no security guard on duty that night. After all, they checked it before they went skating.
They Knew The Secret Spot
If you wanted to get up to some mischief, this was a great idea to go about it. Unfortunately, it was not only the boys who felt this way about it. The men knew all about it as well. Where could they be?
Looking For Something
The CCTV footage would later reveal that the men had also gone up and down the entire parking garage. They seemed to be searching for something. The girl had hung back while the two men poked around.
It seemed like the two of them finally found what they had been looking for. They pushed the door open. It led to the stairwell! They brought the girl in, entered it themselves, and closed it shut.
The Empty Stairwell
It was the boys’ turn to creep into the parking garage without being too obvious. At the time, it seemed even emptier than usual. Their gut feeling told them to check behind the parked cars, but no dice.
After several minutes, they also stumbled into the same stairwell that the men and girl disappeared into not that long ago. Were the group still going to be in there? They could not help but feel overwhelmed.
What They Found
Arnaud was the one who had his hand on the door handle. He tried to tell the others that they had to be ready for anything that they might find there. He opened it after what seemed like forever. What they found inside would send them reeling. What could it be?
They were completely in shock at what they saw. The four skaters went all over the parking lot to look for them. They even looked between the parked cars. There were plenty of hiding spots down there, which meant that they could have been anywhere.
They Were Speechless
The boys only found the men and girl after they opened the door to the stairwell. There was nothing on earth that could have readied them for what they saw. What was it they discovered down there?
It was so dark that they could only make out the silhouette of the men. They felt the instinct to run as far as they could, but they decided to do something instead. It was their mission to help the girl.
What they saw the men doing to the girl was too disgusting and infuriating for words. Nimenya, one of the boys, later said that he “didn’t know what to do.” They snapped out of it and then pulled her away.
Time To Leave
The two men were fuming in anger after what they did. The boys still had no idea who these actually were. The taller guy tried to escape the situation by heading out. The other started to follow him too.
Nimenya recounted, “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.” Of course, they were not going to let them escape!
Going After Them
Even though they were scared of what might happen, they knew that there was nothing else for them to do at the time. The men walked out of the narrow staircase, but three of the boys had been following them by then. One opted to stay behind to take care of the girl while they chased the perps.
They tried to outrun the boys but failed to do so in an effective manner. The boys caught up with them. It was not as if they were going to let them get away after what they did to the poor girl!
At the time, Officer Arthur Doner had been ready. Thanks to a tip, he learned that the man he was looking for had been seen in the Chinook Centre with another guy. That was all it took for him to head to the southwestern suburbs of the city. He only stopped when he saw the large building in front of him.
Last Ditch Effort
He asked backup to follow, but it turns out that the gang leader would basically deliver himself there in no time at all. The criminal almost ran into the car with the three boys close at his heels.
Police Were Waiting
The bigger guy turned and began to fight the boys instead. He took a skateboard from their hands and used it to bludgeon them and keep them at a distance. Clearly, he was starting to feel desperate already.
He was unlucky since he had no clue that Officer Doner was literally just right there. Before the man could injure the boys seriously, the officer stepped in to stop him. He wrestled the man to the ground.
Was it actually true? Did the officer finally get the man he had been looking for all this time? Backup arrived, but the other man was not in sight anywhere. When the boys saw them, they ran on instinct.
They headed for the parking lot, of course. They found their other friend and the girl there as they had left them. She must have been suffering from trauma. They still had no clue the man was a gang leader.
Before they left the girl alone, they made sure that she was safe and south. After this, it was time for them to go home. Not long after the incident, they began to get strange phone calls. Who could it be?
The phone calls continued to come in, but they were all too fearful to actually talk to the person on the other end of the line. Was it the accomplice? If so, how could he have found their contact info like that?
Scared At First
Chief Const. Roger Chaffin was the one making all these calls to the boys. He wanted to thank the boys for what they did. Back then, the boys had no clue that it was the authorities and not the other man.
At one point, they decided that enough was enough. They then picked up the phone and got the surprise of their life when they learned who was on the line. They were both relieved and scared!
Nimenya said that he was surprised to hear that they were getting honored. “We always thought we were going to be in trouble because we fought with him. When they called us, we didn’t wanna answer”.
Looking For Him
They had no idea that the man that they chased after and helped lock up was a key figure in a local gang. The FOB gang was known for their sinister dealings in Calgary. The boys were scared to learn this.
Still, they were glad that they got the girl out of that situation. She might be in worse shape now if they had not intervened. The police force had bee trying to catch the man for a long time before this.
Spilling The Details
After they brought this man to custody, he agreed to cooperate with them and talk about what he knew. He was ready to tell them everything he knew about the gang. Officer Doner sure got lucky.
They Did The Right Thing
He now had a way to solve the issues plaguing the city. Of course, it would not be possible if the boys did not do their part. This problem had been putting lives at risk. He can now do something about it.
They asked the four teens to go to the Chief’s Award Gala. They were recognized by Chief Constable Roger for their services and bravery to the city. Everyone knows that the boys did the right thing in a difficult situation. We hope that everyone will follow in their footsteps and do the same thing.
Calgary Chief’s Award Gala
The Calgary Police Service hosts an annual event called the Chief’s Awards Gala. It was made to honor the citizens, both civilians and servants, who worked hard and displayed the courage to keep the city safe.
During an interview, Police Chief Roger Chaffin explained, “Calgary is a safe place to live but it doesn’t happen by itself, it’s safe because of the people that live here and the nature of wanting to help and wanting to look out for each other and that’s really a nice comment for such a big city”.
Would you have trusted your gut if you were in the same situation the boys found themselves in? Or would you have chosen to simply walk away? Without a doubt, what they did took courage to pull it off.
A Great Job
We know that it is already difficult to stand up to someone else. You can probably imagine that it is even more difficult to stand up to two older and bigger men. Still, the boys managed to do the right thing.
Calgary Police Chief
Police Chief Roger Chaffin delivered a speech to start the gala. He began to talk about how lovely it was for the citizens to go above and beyond. He even said, “Nobody gets their day started thinking this is going to happen to them, that they’re going to be involved in one of these things.”
We can’t deny that the boys did something great, but they are not the only ones who did a thing like this. In fact, there are a lot of people who got awarded for stepping in during a bad situation. The Award of Exceptional Recognition also went to Erin O’Connor, Juan Dolph, John Eddy, and Jasmine Simpson.
Nope, it does not end here. Apart from the boys, they also gave it to a number of other people who are just as deserving as they are. The first one is called the Award of Exceptional Recognition for Valour, and the second one is the Award of Exceptional Recognition for Live Saving.
Jasmine Simpson and Juan Dolph
Let us take a look at the other people who have received the award. Jasmine and Juan were recipients of the awards. They intervened when they saw violence erupt in a parking lot. A man just verbally abused his ex-wife, struck her across the face, grabbed her by the throat, and pinned her down inside her own car. What made it even worse was the fact that the kids had been sitting in the back seat the entire time as he did this. Juan and Jasmine stepped in, called the police, and stayed with the lady until help arrived.
John Eddy is yet another modern-day hero. He once witnessed how oddly one car was moving. Not only did it stay there even though the traffic lights already turned, but it also moved across the intersection and crashed into a curb! He went over to see what was going on and learned that the driver suffered a heart attack. John administered CPR and saved this man’s life.
Erin O’Connor was also awarded for her bravery. There was a time when she saw a fight erupt in the parking lot. One of the attackers seriously wounded another man. Erin was brave enough to chase off the attacker and helped the wounded man until the ambulance arrived.
Paris Hazelwanter is yet another person to have received the Chief’s Awards. She saw a drive-by shooting and began to worry for the woman inside the car. She approached the damaged vehicle, dodged oncoming bullets while she was a, and asked bystanders to help her out. They worked together to pull out the woman from the other car and keep her safe until emergency services finally got there.
Daxton Novak and Derek Wideman
Daxton and Derek heard a commotion in the unit right above their apartment. A hysterical woman had been suffering from a drug-induced psychosis and dangled herself from her balcony. The two men encouraged her to head into their apartment after she climbed over the rails. They pulled her inside and then held onto the woman after she tried to escape when the police went into the unit.
Jessica Johnson also received the award for her efforts to save someone else. She even risked her life just to save the suicidal man she spotted as she rode her bike. It was then that she saw him climb on the railing of the bridge. She stopped and spoke to him, ultimately convincing him this was not the right thing to do. She kept him company until the arrival of the emergency crews.
Sonia Hafeez Yousaf
Don’t you think that it is amazing to hear that a ten-year-old girl also got honored at the event? Sonia helped out her mother when an ex-business associate went to their house. They discussed some matters, but he then assaulted her viciously. Sonia then went to the neighboring house to ask for help. The good news is that the police got there in time to arrest him. They took her mother to the hospital, and she recovered in the end.
Shirley Thiessen is yet another awardee. She received the award for the work she did on the death notification course of the Calgary Police Station. She helped teach them how to cope with the delivery of such devastating news. In 2012, she and her husband were informed that their son died in an accident. The local police gave them the news so terribly that it made the situation even worse than it already was. She decided to help share her story as well as educate people on such an overlooked issue.
Constable Patty Desormeau
Constable Patty Desormeau, meanwhile, got the award for her work on the development of the Calgary Police Services vulnerable persons self-registry. As part of the CPS Diversity Resources Unit, she wanted to ensure the safety of persons with disabilities. She was inspired after hearing about the Ontario autism registry. This was created for the peace of mind of parents and caregivers of those with disabilities.
Nestor Aravena Bonastre
Nestor Aravena Bonastre is another recipient of the award. He saw a teenage girl resting on the edge of the bridge. What alarmed him was that she was dangling her legs over the edge. The girl then informed him that she was planning to end her life. It was a good thing that he convinced her not to. The police explained, “As he got closer, she went over the ledge and hung by her hands. Nestor made a split-second decision and grabbed hold of her arms to stop her falling”. They went on, “Nestor hung there, leaning over the bridge, holding the girl for more than three minutes in 35-degree temperatures before police arrived. An officer arrived, leaned over the edge and grabbed hold of the girl’s leg to pull both her and Nestor back to a safe location.”