A 21-year-old Santee man stepped outside of a restaurant at an Orange County mall for a smoke, spotted a small child snagged by an upstairs escalator, and grabbed the 4-year-old by the feet as he plummeted 30 feet head first, it was reported Sunday.
The boy, Jimmy Lavin, was banged up as he bounced off a wall light fixture near the top of the escalator at the Kaleidoscope mall.
And his head may have bumped the pavement when Antonio Jones caught him, witnesses told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I’m not a good catcher,” Jones told the newspaper. “I’m usually dropping things.”
The boy, from Newport Beach, had minor scrapes and bruises and a small bump on the head.
The newspaper reported that the child was released from an area hospital Friday afternoon.
Jones said he was standing outside the Islands restaurant at the Mission Viejo mall Thursday afternoon when he noticed the boy, on the ground floor, reach over and grab an escalator rail with one hand.
The escalator hand-rail swept Lavin upstairs to the second floor, the boy’s feet lifted off the ground, the child grabbed on with his other hand, and soon the boy was being carried upward, sobbing, as he dangled off the staircase, the newspaper reported.
Jones was 4 or 5 feet away when Lavin reached the top wall and his hands were knocked off the escalator rail.
The boy plummeted about 30 feet toward the walkway below, the Union-Tribune reported.
Jones caught the child with one hand on each leg as the boy went down, his head just touching the ground.
Jones’ girlfriend, Nicole Morgan, told the Union-Tribune the child’s life may have been saved because she craved an Islands hamburger on a trip home from Disneyland, putting Jones in a place to save the child.
This story was written and edited by City News Service.