Things were becoming quite precarious for a couple who had gotten lost on their hike in Oahu, Hawaii. What started off as a simple wrong turn quickly warped into an emergency, as the hikers were stranded with no water, no food and their cellphones had died. To make matters worse, it was getting dark.
A moment of relief came when they met 12-year-old David King and his mother Christine. David had been three miles out of completing a 15-mile hike to earn his Boy Scouts Merit Badge (after a soccer game, no less), according to The Western Journal. Christine and David saw the pair struggling and offered to help.
The Kings could easily help the couple find their way back to the trailhead … except for one little issue. And by "little issue" I mean the couple's not-so-little 100-pound dog, Smokey, who was injured and unable to walk due to cuts on his paws. Luckily, young David's quick thinking had a solution for that as well.
"We built them a stretcher using a big tree branch that we broke in half and used our shirts and slid it on using the armholes to fit the sticks through," David told KHON, explaining that he had learned the technique from his older brother, who happened to be an Eagle Scout. (I'm sure big brother was really proud when he heard this story.)
The group wasn't quick to hop onboard with the idea, however, assuming that the injured pup wouldn't take too kindly to being on a stretcher. They were soon proven wrong as Smokey was, in fact, "very happy to get on the stretcher," according to Christine.
Not out of the woods just yet (literally), the group took turns carrying the doggy stretcher, rotating between two and four carriers, and even having Smokey walk small stretches. Eventually the travelers reached the trailhead, safe and sound. And yes, Smokey has gotten the cuts on his paws looked at and is doing well.
The once lost couple are now more aware about preparing themselves for trail hiking and the importance of packing food and water, keeping phones charged and being more familiar with the route. As David said, "make sure that whenever you're doing an activity, think of what can go wrong and how you can prevent it."
Listen to the Boy Scout, everyone. Planning ahead keeps a situation from becoming an emergency. And when a crisis is inevitable, be adaptable.
Sure, it was great to complete his hike and test out a nifty trail hack, but for David, the biggest accomplishment was giving back to others. He told news sources: "I think that when you help someone out it's like there's something, like joy in you, that's just like, you know you did something good that day."
Someone please give this clever, heroic and undoubtedly kind Boy Scout all the badges. Or at least, as one person commented on Facebook, "give him the BIGGEST Merit badge."
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