Last week most of the nation watched as a gripping and suspenseful mass shooting incident happened at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Nobody knew what was really going on inside the terminal, but America was watching as passengers were evacuated by the authorities. We learned later there was a lone gunman who was shooting people at random inside the baggage claim area.
Annika Dean, a Christian mother was trapped inside just a few feet away from the shooter. She was terrified and frozen but she remembered to pray. That’s when this story took an angelic twist.
With the shooter just 30 feet away from her, and no safe place to take cover, Annika immediately dropped to the ground and began praying—there was only one thing on her mind.
“I was praying specifically that my children would still have their mother. I was worried that they might not.”
What happened next is a miracle!
That’s when 70-year-old Tony Bartosiewicz appeared to be the answer to Annika’s prayers. The retired electrician from Rochester, New York, had flown to Florida with his wife to set sail on a cruise. His wife was in another area of baggage claim when Tony saw a woman who needed his help.
He shielded Annika with his body, and in just four words, let her know that she was going to be okay.
“He basically climbed on top of me and whispered, ‘I will protect you.’ I knew he might be a victim, but I also knew I would survive.”
How comforting is that to know your prayer had been answered and you were being wrapped up away from danger?
Annika didn’t look up as the shooting continued, and it wasn’t until later when the gunman was in police custody that Tony told her the man had actually stood directly over them, all while continuing to shoot.
Her kids still had a mother, and Annika could not wait to thank the man who saved her life.
“The first thing I said to him was I thanked him and told him that it was terrifying and what he did brought me comfort, that it was just so comforting. I thanked him throughout the day and told him he was a hero.”
You never know who God will use to save you from a life-threatening situation. Annika didn’t know where she was going to get help, but she trusted in God to deliver her and Tony showed up with a comforting word that put her at ease just for a few seconds.
What an amazing story! What did you think about that story and how would you have reacted if you were in Annika’s situation?
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