When we think of heroes, the first people that usually come to mind are those that put their lives on the line to help others. Firefighters and police officers are surely worthy of such praise, but what about the ordinary folks that unexpectedly swoop in to play the savior?
Would you believe that instead of a man or woman in uniform, a pair of 6-year-old boys could save the day? That’s exactly what happened when twins from Ohio on a seemingly carefree vacation faced an emergency no one else saw coming…
Most people usually aren’t fortunate enough to share a workplace with their significant other, but that wasn’t the case for Amy Walters and her fiancé, D.J. Deiter. Employees of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial, the Bowling Green couple shared an office and even traveled together for work.
Amy Walters / Facebook
Amy and D.J. were no strangers to traveling for work, but when asked to attend a conference in Florida the twosome quickly grew in number. Seeing that the venue was near Walt Disney World, the couple decided to bring Amy’s twin boys – Peyton and Bryant Switzer – along for the trip.
Being that the boys were avid swimmers, Amy and D.J. made sure that the hotel they were staying at had a pool. Before the couple could even put their bags down, the twins were already poolside.
“We went down a day early and stayed at a hotel near the airport,” Amy said of the trip. “With our late evening arrival, we wanted to let the boys chill out and swim before we had to check into the sales convention hotel.”
Naples Grande Beach Resort
The pool was relatively empty that day, with just a few other guests soaking in the hot tub and a mother and her young daughter playing nearby. With the water all to themselves, the boys were determined to stay in as long as they could, even as the sun began to set.
CBS News / YouTube
“As always, the boys wanted to stay and swim longer,” Amy laughed. “So DJ said he would stay down with them and I could go pack things up and get ready to head to the convention hotel.”
Amy Walters / Facebook
By this time, the mother and daughter also in the pool were getting ready to head up to their room for the evening. But as the woman turned her back to collect her things, her daughter, Charlie, decided to have a closer look at what the twins were up to.
My Sisters Suitcase
Seeing how much fun the older boys were having in the pool, 3-year-old Charlie wanted in on the action. With her mother still distracted, the little girl leaped into the water.
As soon as she hit the water, Charlie realized that this end of the pool was much deeper than she thought. With nothing to grab onto at the center of the pool, the 3-year-old splashed around frantically before sinking below the surface.
Charlie’s commotion quickly caught the attention of Peyton and Bryant, who were swimming just a few feet away. The twins knew that they needed to help, even though they were just kids themselves.
Without hesitation, the boys leaped into action. Peyton quickly dove in behind Charlie and scooped her off the bottom of the pool. Using some of the techniques he’d learned in his swimming lessons, the 6-year-old wrapped his arm around the little girl and began pulling her to safety.
Bryant, seeing that Peyton wouldn’t be able to get Charlie out of the water on his own, situated himself on the pool ladder so he could help. When Peyton finally reached his waiting brother, he passed Charlie off to Bryant, and the two successfully lifted her from the pool.
With the crisis averted, Charlie’s mother rushed over to thank the twins and comfort her frightened daughter. According to D.J., “[Charlie’s] mom was ecstatic, so happy and scared to death, just a mix of emotions.”
Saving a life was reward enough for Peyton and Bryant, but news of their bravery quickly spread beyond the hotel pool. Pretty soon, the twins’ were featured on every local news channel, and people all over the country were calling them heroes.
“We have received lots of calls, texts, and messages from family, friends… and community members who have seen the story all over the U.S.,” Amy told CBS News. “Even our local firefighters and policemen and women were excited and told them they saw them on TV.”
Eventually, news of the boys’ heroism reached the government level, and Theresa Gavarone, a representative of the state of Ohio, recognized the twins for their efforts. Hailing them as among “Ohio’s finest citizens,” Gavarone awarded both Peyton and Bryant with commending letters.
Theresa Gavarone / Twitter
“At a time when many people are content to take a passive role in life, you took an active role in helping a fellow citizen,” read the letters. “You have earned the gratitude of a young girl and her family,”
As for Peyton and Bryant, it appeared that they’d taken to their place in the spotlight in stride. Everywhere they went, people couldn’t help but heap praise upon the 6-year-olds, and the high fives and hugs are never in short supply.
“They are very proud of what they did and are gracious for all of the recognition and accolades and beam from ear to ear,” said Amy of her heroic boys. “They did the right thing, just like anyone should when someone is struggling.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number-one cause of accidental deaths among children under the age of four in the U.S. Thanks to the quick-thinking and bravery of Peyton and Bryant Switzer, a devastating tragedy was thankfully avoided.