Feel-Good Friday: An 88-Year-Old Grandma Thanks a Young Man Who Saved Her From Harm

Barbara Garrett Kimbro and JaQuan Sanks. (via Indisputable Podcast)

Barbara Garrett Kimbro exemplifies the hashtag #SeniorGoals. The 88-year-old is a retired schoolteacher who ziplined across the Chattahoochee River on her 84th birthday four years ago with her daughter and grandkid!


A peep of her Facebook page shows that she is loving life and her Covenant Woods retirement community, and especially enjoys spending time with friends, family, her children and grandchildren, and her cat Rosie.

Kimbro still drives, and gets out and about as much as possible. A stop at a Circle K to fill up her car could have taken a catastrophic turn had it not been for an angel unaware watching out for the elderly lady.

It is a worthy topic for this week’s Feel-Good Friday.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

An elderly woman’s social media post about a young man saving her from falling at a Columbus gas station has gone viral. And both told the Ledger-Enquirer the fact that she is white and he is Black has added to the popularity of this feel-good story.

I would say not just the race, but the age gap as well. So many bad actors want to paint any elderly White person as racist, and any young Black man as a thug. The fact that this story does not fit either narrative is a palate cleanser, as my colleague Jeff Charles (who pointed me to the story) so aptly put it.


Barbara Kimbro, 88, normally uses a walker. But she left it in the car to get a receipt from the cashier for the gas she pumped at the Circle K station at 5919 Miller Road on Monday. Kimbro lost her balance as she stepped onto the curb and started to fall backward.

“I knew I was a goner,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “When- OUT OF THE BLUE, A young man threw his arms around my body and caught me FROM FALLING!!!!

“I will NEVER-EVER FORGET THAT YOUNG MAN AS LONG AS I live!! I deeply think he SAVED MY LIFE, because I think I would have cracked My skull!

JaQuan Sanks is my hero! I bought him a tank of gas! Small payment for saving my life!!”

The September 6 post on her Facebook page generated more than 7,000 likes, hundreds of shares, and scores of comments, to the point where she had to close it down. But it continues to resonate for both Kimbro and JaQuan Sanks.

“Everybody feels like God had a hand in it,” Kimbro, a resident of Covenant Woods retirement community, told the L-E. “… The biggest thing that attracted people to this was a Black helping a white.”

And like Nylaia Carter, who was at the right place at the right to save the life of a gunshot victim, Sanks is taking his sharp thinking and quick assistance in stride.

Sanks, 27, is a 2013 graduate of Carver High School. He lives in Columbus and works at Packaging Corporation of America in Opelika. He was going to get his gas receipt from the Circle K station cashier when he encountered Kimbro.

“I just noticed this lady walking up the curb,” Sanks told the L-E. “… When I saw she started to fall, I thought, ‘That’s not going to be OK.’ My body wouldn’t let her hit the ground. I was just 3 or 4 feet away. So I guess I used my high school football skills. I didn’t look at it as saving her. I just did the right thing.”


This divine encounter and life-saving act have sparked a fresh collaboration between the elder and the young man. Kimbro and Sanks are talking about visiting schools to spread the message that we must look out for each other, no matter what our age, race, or differences.

“I’m still trying to take this all in,” Sanks said. “I hate the attention, but I’m being put in a certain role now… I guess it was meant for me and Miss Barbara to put more into the world… We’re going to keep that relationship and bond and build off it.

I know God put me with Miss Barbara for a reason.”


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