In times of crisis, the kindness of neighbors can shine through. Claudia Jimenez, a mother of two, found unexpected help from Joe Hollins, a homeless individual camping near her apartment complex in Phoenix, Arizona. When faced with an emergency in the early hours of a typical Thursday, Joe swiftly came to her aid.
Living near Claudia’s residence with his wife, Joe, who is homeless, heard the desperate pleas for help coming from the single mother’s second-story window. With a fire raging inside the apartment, Claudia found herself trapped in her bedroom alongside her two daughters and two dogs.
“I opened my window and I started yelling ‘Please, someone help me, there’s a fire, I can’t get out through the front, I need someone to help me,’” Claudia recalled.
As firefighters were still some distance away, Claudia frantically pleaded for someone to assist her and her family in escaping the blazing inferno. In that crucial moment, Joe, responding to her cries, emerged below her window with his arms outstretched, ready to help.
“He was right underneath and he was like ‘Yes, throw your daughters out, I’m going to catch them, I’m going to get them,’” said Claudia.
With no other option, Claudia had to place her trust in the stranger waiting below her window. She cautiously lowered her 1-year-old daughter Valerie first, followed by her 8-year-old daughter Natalie. Then, she let the two dogs down. Remarkably, Joe caught each family member safely, encouraging Claudia to take the leap as well.
“She didn’t want to come at first. She was scared she was going to fall,” Joe explained. “I was like ‘I got you. Don’t worry.’”
In the end, Claudia summoned the courage to make the daring jump, and Joe successfully caught her as well, completing the incredible rescue.
Shortly after, firefighters arrived at the scene, although the apartment had already suffered irreparable damage. Claudia’s community rallied together to support her and others affected by the fire, helping them rebuild their lives. Despite the daunting task of replacing her belongings, Claudia is immensely grateful that she and her family made it out unharmed. She recognizes that there is one person to whom she owes her deepest gratitude for their safety.
“I will forever be thankful to him, you know?” she said of Joe. “Like I said, to me he was an angel. Because of him we’re here, we’re alive, and my daughters are safe.”
Despite being hailed as a hero, Joe remains humble, claiming that anyone would have done the same in that situation. However, Claudia strongly disagrees and considers Joe to be the angel her family desperately needed that morning. She expresses immense gratitude for his selfless act. Like Claudia, we are incredibly relieved that everyone, including the dogs, made it out of the ordeal unharmed.