It had been more than 13 years since Chris Thorp had laid eyes on Christian Flores. But something inside Thorp allowed him to recognize Flores, who was just 4-years-old old when they met.
Thorp was driving his wife to the mechanic when he spotted a young man with burn scars and other injuries.
“I muttered, ‘I wonder if that is him.’ Everything about it seemed right. The age, the injuries, the scars. I hadn’t seen him in nearly 13 years, he was 4 years old then, but everything seemed to fit,” Thorp told FOX 2 KTVU.
He believed the young man to be the 4-year-old he saved from a burning car wreck in Sonoma County in 2007 when he was serving as Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Flores was the only survivor in the crash which also involved his mother, older brother, and another couple.
The accident left Flores with third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. It also took his arm.
Thorp just had to find out and walked up to the young man and asked if his name was Christian.
He then asked the teen if he was involved in the crash. He said he was.
Thorp realized that his intuition was correct and that he was looking at the boy he saved as an off-duty officer passing by the crash all those years ago.
“There are no words for the elation for Christian, or the sorrow that despite all our efforts, we could not save his family from the wreckage,” Thorp said.
The two got to talking and Thorp was amazed by all that Christian has been through since surviving the crash.
“He’s done amazing things and fought tremendous battles. We didn’t touch on too much, but he’s a serious warrior,” said Thorp.
Thorp ran over to his car and gave Flores the Medal of Valor he was given for saving the boy that day. It just so happened to be in his glove compartment.
“I explained to him he deserved it far more than I ever did, and he was far more brave and a warrior than I ever shall be. He accepted it, and in a lot of ways I realized I had been merely it’s keeper, until the time came for him to take possession,” he said.
Flores accepted the medal and told Thorp, also a former firefighter, that he plans to place it below a photo of his older brother who passed away in the crash.
“If it weren’t for him [Thorp], I wouldn’t be here,” Flores told ABC 7.
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