As I quickly lowered my body into the frigid water, a crowd began to gather. They were tourists mostly, and I was just another Vegas oddity. Some crazy, high, or drunk dude going swimming under the Bass Pro Shops waterfall fully clothed. What they didn’t know is that I was on a rescue mission, and with only seconds left to avert tragedy, there was no time to explain.
I knew the catching pool at the base of the high waterfall was not shallow but didn’t realize it was well over my head. I dove down hard to the bottom and toward my target praying it wouldn’t already be too late. I stretched out my left arm and grabbed the body as firmly as I could then pushed hard off the bottom and breached the surface holding the seemingly lifeless victim aloft.
Time stood still.
I looked quickly, then touched the face and it suddenly burst to life. My heart started beating again, and I took a breath as life returned and a familiar warmth filled my eyes. It was the same beautiful face that I had gazed upon at least a million times before.
Jesse was there. He looked down at me and seemed to have grasped what had just taken place. He was excited and calling to me. His daddy had jumped fearlessly in the cold, dark, water to rescue…an iPhone, Daddy’s iPhone, and it was still working.
Jesse loves water, and waterfalls, and Bass Pro Shops is one of his favorite places to go. Their indoor waterfalls are huge and there are many fish and turtles and ducks and lots and lots of water. It truly is a spectacle, and his little boy imagination has him believing the whole thing is a jungle and we are brave explorers.
I wanted to take a selfie of him and me to send to Mommy. Just as I held up my phone to snap the shot, Jesse bumped it from my hand and into the drink. Some staff tried to get help, but Silverton Casino and Bass Pro Shops couldn’t decide whose problem it was, so I made it mine. The kind staff watched Jesse, and I went over the rail and into the water.
The day was supposed to be us doing boy things. Bacon and eggs at the Henderson airport cafe while watching the airplanes; then over to Bass Pro Shops to sit in some boats and on some quads and check out the fish. But it turned out to be so much bigger than that.
You see, a three-year-old boy doesn’t view me as a fumbling Dufus that dropped his phone in the water and had to drive home in his underwear because his clothes were soaking wet. He saw his daddy, a real-live superhero, fearlessly diving into the icy abyss to perform a dangerous rescue, and that’s how he has been telling the story all day to anyone who will lend an ear. I gotta admit I’m walking a little taller tonight knowing he sees me that way.
As I sat earlier reflecting, a perma-grin pasted on my face, I realized that there was a lesson in the experience. There are no perfect people, but there are plenty of good people. We can look for the positive and build others up and have an awesome day telling our more glowing version of the story instead of the opposite. It elevates others and makes us feel proud as punch.
That is the world from Jesse’s eyes and I don’t know many folks that have as much fun living life as he does.
And no one is more fun to hang out with.