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Coming to the rescue

Original post made on Sep 7, 2012

The day before Halloween in 2007, Sunnyvale resident Fred Burgener got the fright of his life. As he pulled up to a stoplight on Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sunnyvale, a grisly spectacle came running toward him: a terrified young girl, her face covered in blood, he said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 7, 2012, 8:57 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

Sometimes you don't have to be a victim to be deeply changed by a crime. There is a certainly level of common decency displayed when it comes to those lending assistance to victims who are near death or fearing for their life. I appreciate the local citizens mentioned in this article who chose to lend their help and love to total strangers caught in their darkest hours. We do not choose the world we live in, but we can choose to ignore it when it scares us. Credit due to these citizens who faced the fear and answered it with love and care.


Posted by Marielena Scanlon, a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 7, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Sue Dremann, thank you for this article! How inspiring these stories are, touching and very, very impresssive.

As an aside, it is also nice not to see any bloggers complaining about headlines, grammar, etc., that is always distressing to see here.

Finally, many, many thanks to those citizens who stepped up to the plate when their situations arose. It is reassuring to know there are still people out there like that. Amen!!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

This is one of the best news stories I've read in some time- the writing and the subject matter. Thank you for the reminder that what we call heroic deeds are, to more people than we realize, simply how to behave as a human being. We should all be so lucky to be assisted, saved or advocated by compassionate folks such as these. I appreciate PA Weekly telling their stories and also profiling the victims with dignity and compassion.


Posted by local gurl, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I had a terrible accident as a teenager and will never forget the soothing words of a man who stayed with me at the scene until the ambulance arrived. There wasn't anything he could do for me other than talk to me, and I believe that is the reason I lived through the experience. Thank you to him and all those who help when so very much needed.


Posted by antpol, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

same things happened to others, but when cops were called they told YOU to ''stand back!!'' like YOIU were the criminal. so much for good samaritinism if youre not caucasian. cops aasume YOU were involved in crime, but you helped save person! you will never call police ever again for any reason.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm

As far as I recall from reporting, then - Mr. Burgener was not the first one to pass by the girl, or the second. Many ignored her prior to him picking her up. They were just looking to the other side, were just bystanders. Bravo Mr. Burgener! I'm so sorry you had to go through personal difficulties resulting from your acts, caring. Stories, above, are unfortunately the exceptions - exceptions pointing to/emphasizing the by-standing rule.


Posted by Stevie D, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

Wow, one of the most powerful and well-researched stories I've seen in a local paper in a long time. Props to PA Online and especially to Sue Dremann for this story. Deeper stories about the true heroes in our community are long overdue.

And also, I applaud all of the heroes mentioned in the story. I hope if I'm ever in that zone of desperate need that I happen across someone with that level of character, and that if I ever happen across someone with that level of desperate need that I don't just walk by with my head turned down.

A friend mentioned he saw a high school kid riding his bike home from Paly today get hit hard by a car and most of the witnesses just drove by. Shame on us, Palo Alto. Shame.

We may all retire with a lot of financial security in the bank, but what really defines us? For god's sake, not stopping for a biking high schooler hit by a car?


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

only in CA would one have to have the thought cross one's mind that one could get sued for assisting someone in dire need...sad but true


Posted by Jim_H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Lives CAN be saved by decent people doing the right thing at the right time. It takes courage to do that sometimes. I wholeheartedly applaud the individuals mentioned in this story who took the chance and helped a distressed stranger - they are true heroes. I only hope that I would do the same thing.

At the same time, though, we have to remember - given the state of the legal system in this country, and the hungriness of lawyers to make a few bucks, we are taking a big risk getting involved in something that doesn't directly concern us. Had one of these perpetrators been acquitted, the life of a very well-intentioned and sincere individual could have been ruined in court.

I certainly hope that those thoughts don't come into my mind if I ever encounter someone who really needs help. But, those thoughts are reality. Think about it.


Posted by Mark, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Mr. Burgener did a terrific job in an absolutely horrific situation. Kudos for his heroism, I am so happy he is being recognized for stepping up when he was needed most.


Posted by Grateful Mom, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

I am eternally grateful to a stranger who, I believe, saved our son's life. Our son was 10 years old, playing in the water at Ocean Beach, all his family there. Suddenly, we heard "DAD!!!" from far away, and saw that he had been swept far out to sea, by what we later learned is what an undertow does.
By the time Dad was jumping in the water to get him, we couldn't see him. A emergency lifeguard just happened to drive down to the beach just before, and we saw him jumping on his surfboard and paddling like mad out to the place of the screams.
Our son later told us that he remembered to get on his back and stay afloat, but that he got sooo cold soooo fast he couldn't move his arms and started to sink. But a young man on a surfboard who was out there asked him "Hey little dude, you want some help?" and dragged him onto his board, where the lifeguard found him. The lifeguard put him on his own board, brought him to us, then left before we could even thank him. We never did see the surfer dude who saved our son.

This world has so many selfless heroes, just doing what is right, without a word of recognition. Thank you.

And for all you folks out there, don't let your kids go deeper than knee deep at beaches with undertows.


Posted by Thank you, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

Thank you to all three of the heroes for stepping in and helping those who needed it in their most vulnerable and desperate of times. You put your own safety at risk and set aside your fears to help. If I were in the same situation, I really hope I would do the same. Thank you!


Posted by Linda, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

Beautiful article. Kindness is a virtue that makes me cry with joy. There is hope.


Posted by SMKabat, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2012 at 1:22 am

Thank you heros-known & unknown for being the hearts and hands of our Lord.


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