Man meets girl he risked life to save at racetrack

Pair reunited two years after incident

SANTA ANITA PARK, Calif. - A 92-year-old man had the chance to meet the young girl he risked his life to rescue at a racetrack two years ago.

John Shear was hailed as a hero for his unlikely strength and bravery after he saved a 5-year-old girl from a horse.

Shear has worked as a guard at the Santa Anita Park racetrack in California for 51 years, ABC News reported. Two years ago, he was keeping his normal watch when he heard somebody yell there was a loose horse.

Shear shouted to everyone to get out of the way and he said there was a little girl standing in the way of the barreling horse.

Shear didn’t think twice and jumped in front of Roxy Key to protect her from the horse.

"I knew I was going to get hit," Shear said. "I thought there was a possibility I was going to die but you cannot stop and think should I or shouldn't I. There is a five-year-old girl. I’m 90-years-old. I have had a life. She hasn’t had a life. You got to save that life."

The horse knocked both Shear and Key to the ground.

"She got up and I was shaking. I was in shock," Roxy’s dad Michael Key said. "And she’s like, ‘I’m fine, papa, I’m fine,' and then she looked over and saw Mr. Shear on the ground and there was blood hemorrhaging and she lost it, she just lost it."

Michael Key said he believes his daughter would have died if it weren’t for Shear’s brave actions.

Shear was critically injured and spent seven weeks in the hospital, but he said he always wanted to meet the young girl whose life he saved.

Finally, two years later, Shear, met the now 8-year-old Roxy at a ballet studio where she performed.

“I kept saying to myself, is that Roxy? Where is she? I was on pins and needles waiting to see her.  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,” Shear said.

Roxy Key’s mother told Shear he was her daughter’s guardian angel, and Michael Key assured Shear that he did not save a daughter, he saved a family.

Print this article Back to Top