On Super Bowl Sunday, Iowa mother Jamie Carrion strapped her four-year-old daughter, Averie, and her toddler son, Abel, into her stepfather’s pickup truck, and began driving from her mother’s house to her family’s new trailer several hours away. But she hadn’t realized how icy the roads were: Just a few miles into the drive, the truck skidded on a slick patch. The truck rolled over several times, and landed on the passenger side with the roof caved in. Carrion blacked out from the crash, leaving her children crying in the backseat.
When Carrion woke up, her daughter Averie wasn’t in the car. After a rescue team showed up, she directed them to search the snow bank—maybe Averie had been thrown from the car. She could be unconscious, or worse.
In fact, the 32-pound child had crawled through the broken truck window and pushed her way through the snow bank, then walked a quarter-mile up the road to the nearest farmhouse in search of help for her mother and crying brother.
“I think my mom’s dead, and my brother is still in the car, and we need you to help us,” she told Jason Zenk, the 13-year-old boy who found her.
While the family warmed the shivering child up with blankets, Jason’s father Patrick got into his truck to see what had happened. Just down the road, he came across a group of emergency vehicles, and a female driver crying hysterically. Police officers were searching for Averie in the snowy fields. “I think we have what you’re looking for,” Zenk said.
Minutes later, Averie and her mother were happily reunited, no worse for the wear. And young Averie has received worldwide acclaim for her heroic actions: She was recently rewarded with a trip to New York City to tell her story on national TV shows.
Everyone has been impressed with Averie’s bravery, not least the Zenk family. “We always hear about the bad things in the world, so it’s nice to hear something with a happy ending,” Jean Zenk told the Des Moines Register. “She had a guardian angel over her that night.”