Local hero saves child from burning car

July 24, 2009 5:40:04 PM PDT
An ordinary citizen, a furniture maker, put his life on the line to save a toddler from a burning, flipped over SUV. The video of the daring rescue comes from Los Angeles, but the hero isn't a Hollywood stuntman.

The Good Samaritan who reaches through the sunroof, and saves a terrified three-year-old girl is John McDonald, a cabinet and furniture-maker who grew up on the Main Line.

"She was upside down and took me a while to figure out how to unhook the seatbelt, and then I got my wits about me and I popped it and managed to drag her out, and it worked out fine," John said.

41-year-old John McDonald went to Archbishop Carroll High School and the University of Delaware.

His mom, Kay, lives in Wayne.

"He can show up when you really need him," Kay said.

Kay saw the video of her son's amazing rescue effort for the first time yesterday.

Since then, she's watched it dozens of times and has received emails and phone calls from friends and family across the country.

She's thankful the frightening episode ended as it did with John and the three people who were in the car all escaping injury.

She's, however, not surprised her son jumped in to a potentially explosive situation.

"John loves people, he cares about people, and he's a best friend to his friends and family and he's a go-getter," Kay said.

John says he was aware of the danger, but didn't stop to consider any alternatives.

"I don't think about that stuff too much. I think most people would have done it if they were in my position," John said.

Kay doesn't expect John to come home again until Christmastime when a big mother-son hug is expected.