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A mother and son remember a frightening accident and the resulting kindness

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. These conversations are not scripted, and even the participants can be surprised by what comes up when they get behind the mic. That's what happened to Karina Borgia-Lacroix. Last month, she brought her 10-year-old son, Levi, to a StoryCorps Mobile Booth in Fort Myers, Fla.

LEVI LACROIX: What is your favorite memory of me?

KARINA BORGIA-LACROIX: There's one memory that...

LEVI: Yeah?

BORGIA-LACROIX: ...Makes me sad, but it is the memory that always comes up when I think about you and your kindness.

LEVI: OK.

BORGIA-LACROIX: You remember when we were in that car accident?

LEVI: Yeah.

BORGIA-LACROIX: It started raining so hard that I couldn't see anything. And there was a guy. I was heading west, and he was going east. And same thing happened to him, he couldn't see and he loses control of his truck. And then he's head on to us when he finally sees us. He crushed my car, and the car then went into the retention pond. He started swimming towards the car.

LEVI: I remember.

BORGIA-LACROIX: You remember?

LEVI: Our car had landed in the water and then he goes to swim in and he gets me out.

BORGIA-LACROIX: Yeah. Do you remember when we finally made it to the hospital?

LEVI: Yeah. I had an orange monkey with me.

BORGIA-LACROIX: You did. They gave you an orange monkey. I don't know if you remember this because you were just - what? - 2 years old, almost 3. You were sitting on my lap. I was in the hospital room.

LEVI: I remember that. And you were crying, and you thought that I was bleeding. But I wasn't. That was...

BORGIA-LACROIX: My blood.

LEVI: Yeah.

BORGIA-LACROIX: And you grabbed a tissue, and you started cleaning off my face and my neck and my chest.

LEVI: Yeah.

BORGIA-LACROIX: (Crying) That was one of those memories that will always be here for me. You know what was really tough out of that accident? Was realizing that I had very little control over some of those things, you know? It didn't matter how much I wanted to protect you, I couldn't. Do you understand what I'm saying?

LEVI: Yeah. You really care about me, and you really try and protect me and make sure that I'm safe at all times.

BORGIA-LACROIX: (Crying) Yeah. It also let me know that there are good people out there. If it wasn't for the guy that hit us, we wouldn't be here today. Even the people that hurt us, they can still save us after they've hurt us. That's a big lesson out of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FADEL: That was Karina Borgia-Lacroix with her son Levi in Fort Myers, Fla. They haven't seen the man who saved them since that day. Their interview was recorded in partnership with WGCU Public Media and is archived in the Library of Congress. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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