Things were getting pretty precarious for a couple who got lost while hiking in Oahu, Hawaii. What started as a simple wrong turn quickly turned into an emergency as hikers were stranded with no water, no food, and their cell phones were dead. To make matters worse, it was getting dark.
A moment of relief came when they met 12-year-old David King and his mother Christine. According to The Western Journal, David had been three miles away from completing a 15-mile hike to earn his Boy Scouts merit badge (after a football game, no less). Christine and David saw the couple struggling and offered to help.
The Kings could easily help the couple find their way back to the trail…except for one small problem. And by “small problem,” I mean the couple’s not-so-small 100-pound dog, Smokey, who was injured and unable to walk due to cut paws. Luckily, young David’s quick thinking had a solution for that as well.
“We built them a stretcher using a big tree branch that we broke in half and used our shirts and slid it down using the armholes to run the poles through,” David told KHON, explaining that he had learned the technique from his older brother, who happened to be an Eagle Scout. (I’m sure big brother was really proud when he heard that story.)
Scouts learn all sorts of hacks, from firestarters made from stuffed animals to soap that secretly hides valuables, so it’s no surprise that David got to think on his feet.
The group wasn’t quick to get on board with the idea, however, assuming the injured pup wouldn’t relish being on a stretcher too much. They were soon wrong because Smokey was, in fact, “very happy to get on the stretcher”, according to Christine.
Not out of the woods yet (literally), the group took turns carrying the dog stretcher, rotating between two and four carriers, and even having Smokey walk small distances. Eventually, the travelers reached the trailhead, safe and sound. And yes, Smokey had his paw cuts checked and is doing well.
The once-lost couple are now more aware of preparing for the hike and the importance of packing food and water, keeping phones charged and familiarizing themselves with the route. As David said, “Make sure that every time you do an activity, think about what can go wrong and how you can prevent it.”
Listen to the Boy Scout, everyone. Planning ahead helps prevent a situation from becoming an emergency. And when a crisis is unavoidable, be adaptable.
Sure, it was great to finish his hike and test out a nifty trail hack, but for David, the biggest accomplishment was giving back to others. He told news sources: “I think when you help someone it’s like there’s something, like joy inside you, it’s like you know you have did something good that day.”
Someone please donate this smart, heroic, and undoubtedly kind Boy Scout all the badges. Or at least, as one person on Facebook commented, “give him the GREATEST merit badge.”
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