I am so sick of bad news.
I know you are too.
Well, here’s some good news for a change. It’s about a woman who was recently on her way to work and saw something that didn’t look right on I-95. Instead of chasing power by videotaping what happened like some motorists did, she stopped her car and got involved.
Her name is Christine King, and she’s a hero.
On Thursday, July 28, King was in slow-moving traffic heading south at the Cottman Avenue exit, enjoying her gospel music, when she noticed a man and woman engaged in a scuffle. At first she thought they had been in a car accident. Then she noticed that the man was holding a baby over an overpass as if he wanted to drop her.
“I said, ‘Oh my god, there’s a baby,'” King told me when we spoke on the phone last Monday. She stopped and jumped out.
King, a 52-year-old mother of five who lives in Bensalem, parked her Honda, ran to the couple and demanded that the man hand over the toddler.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, please give me the baby. Don’t do this! Don’t do this,’ she said. “And then he looked into my face and looked straight into my eyes. He said, ‘Get away from my baby, keep your hands off my baby.” I said, ‘Let the baby go.’ He said, ‘Keep your hands off my baby. If you don’t take your hands off my baby – I have a gun – I’ll shoot you.'”
King took a few steps back, but didn’t leave. Again she demanded that the baby be handed over. She was trembling by then, but she stood her ground.
“By that time, the traffic will not move. Traffic has stopped. And when he said, ‘I’ll shoot you,’ I turned and looked in traffic to see if anyone else was coming,” she recalls. A passerby stopped and used his phone to call the police.
At one point during the struggle, the mother reached forward and snatched the man’s gun from his pocket, King said. Soon the police arrived with flashing sirens.
‘And I said, ‘Give them the baby. They’re going to shoot you!’” King said. “It took a lot of people to get him in the police cruiser because he’s a big guy… He yelled, ‘See what you did?'”
When it was finally over, King went back to her car and got water and crackers for the baby, and waited with the mother for a relative to arrive to pick her up.
“She was just shaking. She couldn’t talk to anyone,” King said.
Raheem Murphy, 35, is being held on a $1.5 million bond and facing multiple charges including aggravated assault, kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child. A Pennsylvania state officer was injured in the incident.
Before they broke up, King got the mother’s number and promised to remember her in prayer. Since then they have spoken to each other a few times. (Through King, the mother declined to be interviewed.)
I imagine this mom probably considers King her guardian angel because of the way she came running and stayed until it was over.
What I want to know is: where was everyone? I know people have become desensitized lately, but a baby’s life was literally on the line.
‘Who was this brave woman? Why did she get so involved?”
I first heard about the incident on social media. I watched a video of a passing car – what does that mean someone took the time to film what happened and post it on social media but not to help. The video was horrific: the screams of a mother of terror, a man with a baby in one arm, and a Philadelphia police officer with a gun pointed. Later I saw the TV news reports, which included interviews with King, and wondered: Who was this brave woman? What made her get so involved?
King, who attends the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd in Philadelphia, is convinced her actions were divinely inspired. “God put me in the right place at the right time,” she said. King is originally from Liberia and an aunt told her she got her courage from her late mother, who had saved countless people during a civil war.
King was on her way to work as a paid carer for a woman in Bridesburg when she saw something on I-95 that didn’t look right. But she didn’t pick up a cell phone to film. She didn’t just sit there drooling. Instead, without worrying about her own safety, she ran to the rescue.
We need more heroes like King, who cares more about protecting others than collecting likes on social media.