A man was rescued from the jaws of death by people he hardly expected to be there at the time.
Jimmy MacDonald from Albany was paddling in a kayak when the waters turned choppy. He says he drifted away from his wife and stepkids because he was taking pictures with his new smartphone “and not really paying attention.”
He tried to make his way back, but the waters got choppier and he paddled hard but he tipped over and lost his paddle. He found himself in 30 feet of water, wearing an ill-fitting life jacket coming up over his head. He was holding onto the kayak with one hand and his new $1,400 smartphone with the other.
Other kayakers and canoeists were passing by in the distance, but he says his former amateur boxer’s pride wouldn’t let him scream for help. He spent several minutes trying to right the kayak. “That’s when I said, ‘Alright, I think I might die today. I think this might be it.’” I prayed to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for help.”
Help from above
Greg Barrett, the captain for Tiki Tours said, “A lot of things aligned that day,” Barrett said. On a normal day, he would pilot partiers, but on this day, Barrett saw Jimmy’s paddle and said one of his passengers heard a call for help. ‘So as soon as I turned the boat towards him, I realized his life preserver had been in the upper portion of his head and he was, he was hanging on for dear life.”
They got to him, a deckhand and the passengers pulled him on board. Jimmy is a drug counselor and a recovering addict. MacDonald laughed about it, “How funny is it that I’ve been sober for seven years and I get saved by a tiki bar?”
The tiki bar was full of priests and seminarians from the Paulist Fathers, a Catholic retreat on the lake. Jimmy prayed for help from above and God sent a whole crowd of priests to rescue him. These men have no doubt that God sent them there t the right time.
“We’re missionaries,” said Chris Malano, a second-year seminarian. “For us, that day, that was our mission to be present and to help someone in need.” Jimmy now says that he will use his life to continue to help others drowning in addiction. “I just take that as a sign from God that he’s got me here for a real reason,” said MacDonald.