GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- A 14-year-old boy came to a man's rescue while at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland.
Michael Friedlander heard screams coming from the ocean as he was prepping his surfboard.
“I see a guy in the water splashing and screaming something,” said Friedlander. “I thought he was joking around and then I notice he’s screaming, ‘Help! Help!’”
When the teenager heard the screams, he knew there was only one answer.
“At that moment, I pretty much didn’t even think,” he said. “It was just instincts. I ran to the water.”
Friedlander dove into the ocean and swam towards the man even though he knew there was danger of the man pulling him under because of rip currents. But with some fast-thinking, he reached out to another surfer in the water and grabbed his board to help bring the man in.
“Then I just started pulling him in,” Friedlander described. “I was paddling with one arm holding on to the other.”
Friedlander said once they made it to the beach, the man didn't say much, but he did thank the 14-year-old and appeared grateful for saving his life.
He doesn't even know the man's name, but he said that is okay because it was just about doing the right thing.
“My dad rushed down from the balcony because he was watching from the balcony,” said Friedlander. “By the time he got down, I saved the guy. But he said, ‘Your son just saved my life, thank you so much.’ And then he started walking down the beach.
Minutes after the lifesaving rescue, the teenager was back in the water doing what he loves -- surfing the waves and feeling happy, yet humble about his good deed.
Of course, his mother is very proud.
“It didn’t dawn on him the magnitude of what he had done, but it did to me,” said Debbie Friedlander. “I was just sitting here thinking to myself it’s incredible. I think it was just fate that he was down there at that time.”