Two years ago, when a racehorse at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., broke free from his handler and bolted for the gate, a 90-year-old man named John Shear threw his body over a 5-year-old girl who was in the animal's path.
"You cannot stop and think, 'Should I or shouldn't I?'" Shear, a former jockey, told ESPN's E:60. "There's a 5-year-old girl. I'm 90 years old. She hasn't had a life. I've had a life. You've gotta save that life."
Shear suffered several fractures, including one in his pelvis, the Daily Racing Forum reported. He spent seven weeks in the hospital but recovered -- a feat his son accredited to a healthy diet and vigorous exercise regimen.
Now, more than two years later, Shear was able to reunite with the little girl he saved.
Today, Roxy Key is 8 years old, and Shear drove to the ballet studio where she was about to perform.
ESPN caught the reunion on camera.
“I kept saying to myself, 'Is that Roxy? Where is she?' I was on pins and needles waiting to see her," Shear said. "And when I finally see her come out and dance, it felt so exhilarating. I can hardly explain. I felt so emotional in my heart."
Key's dad, Michael, who was with her the day of the accident, told ESPN that his daughter would be dead if not for the heroic jockey.
"[Shear] didn't save a daughter," he said. "He saved a family."