They never saw it coming. Three teen girls seeking a thrill excitedly snapped a group photo standing on the tracks next to a passing train in Utah’s Spanish Fork Canyon. They were completely preoccupied with their train track selfie. So much so, they overlooked the train barreling towards them from the other direction. And their unfortunate oversight has had a lasting impact, not just on their families, but on the train conductors witnessing the terrible tragedy.
“Standing right by a train ahaha this is awesome!!!!”
That’s the caption that accompanied the photo when Savannah Webster (13) posted it to Facebook. Sadly, it was the last photo ever taken of Savannah, her older sister, Kelsea (15) and Kelsea’s friend, Essa Ricker (15). The three girls excitedly posed for a train track selfie as a locomotive whizzed by in front of them.
What they didn’t realize was that the bright lights in the top right side of the photo were actually the headlights of an oncoming train from the other direction. But train conductor John Anderson and engineer Michael Anderson (no relation) saw the girls plain as day. It’s a moment that will play in their minds for years to come.
A train traveling at 55 mph can take more than a mile to come to a complete stop once the emergency brakes are applied. The train headed for Savanah, Kelsea and Essa was going roughly 39 mph. By the time they’d spotted the girls taking their train track selfie, there simply wasn’t enough time to stop the train.
“We watched in horror as we got closer,” said John. Michael blasted the horn. Instinctively, John and Michael yelled at the girls to get out of the way, even though they knew there was no way for them to hear. But try as they might, they couldn’t get the girls’ attention. “They were in their own little world,” recalled John. “We saw them for about 12 seconds until they disappeared from our sight and the train continued moving forward.”
The train finally came to a stop about a quarter of a mile down the track. John hopped off and raced to where he’d last seen the girls. Two of them were already gone. But Savannah was still clinging to life. John sat by her side, holding her hand until the paramedics arrived. “I told her everything would be okay and she relaxed a little,” said John. “I hoped she would make it and for some reason I really thought she would.”
Savannah was rushed to the hospital. She suffered from more than a dozen broken bones, internal bleeding, blood clots and a severe brain injury. Sadly, her injuries were too great and she passed away three days later. The senseless loss of three beautiful lives hurled their loved ones into a world of mourning. But they weren’t the only ones devastated by the tragedy. John and Michael grieved deeply, too.
Though the children had been strangers, Savannah, Kelsea, and Essa’s smiling faces from the train track selfie gone horribly wrong would forever remain in John and Michael’s memories. They would always feel partially responsible for their deaths, even though there was nothing more the men could have done.
Conductor John Anderson (left) and Engineer Michael Anderson (right) have forever been impacted by the train track selfie tragedy. It’s the side of such traumatic accidents most people don’t consider. Train crews are deeply impacted by the loss of life, and those involving children are especially tough. The fact that both John and Michael have teen daughters of their own only added to their struggle.
John fought the urge to turn to alcohol to dull the horrific scene that played over and over in his mind. Thankfully, he resisted the temptation. But others aren’t always as successful. Michael saw blonde hair and jackets blowing in the wind. He helplessly watched an unthinkable tragedy unfold, something he thought about day after day. He was plagued at night by vivid nightmares.
“What happened was very intense and I have to carry it the rest of my life,” he said. He and John never discussed the incident with each other, but both wear the emotional scars. “I don’t know what John saw that night and I don’t want to know what he saw that night.” Both have since returned to work and found healing in their own way. John found comfort in talking to his co-workers, who reassured him the accident was not his fault. Michael has become a peer support volunteer to help train crews who experience traumatic incidents.
Sadly, train track selfies and photography are becoming increasingly popular. But the “perfect photo opp” simply isn’t worth the risk involved — something everyone hopes this tragedy will help emphasize. Both John and Michael, along with the Union Pacific railroad, urge teens to think about the extreme danger involved with train track selfies.
“Think about the pain it would inflict on their families if things went wrong,” Michael cautioned. “It also hurts the train crew, the first responders and the many people who love you.” Union Pacific has launched a railroad safety campaign, and Jayna Webster, mom to Kelsea and Savannah, responded with her own warning.
“The accident that took my daughters’ lives was preventable and a good illustration of how close a train can be without hearing it. No one should have to go through this and I hope people will seriously think about the campaign’s rail safety message and share it with their loved ones. And please share this warning so others will take railroad safety seriously.
Preemie Found In Trash Bag With Maggot-Infested Head Wound, Now She’s Fighting For Her Life
One thing I will never understand, and am quite sure many people can relate, is how a person can be able to abandon their little defenseless baby at a time they need them the most and walk away.
Unfortunately, such things still happen. In a recent case that is garnering a lot of attention, a baby girl was reportedly found inside a plastic bag in Vietnam. The baby had been exposed to the sun, had several mosquito bites and had a nasty wound in her head that had become infested with maggots.
According to sources, the child was found tied to a coffee tree in Lam Dong Province, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
When she was found, the baby was in a horrific condition. Doctors feared she would not survive, and if she did, then she wouldn’t last too long.
Luckily, Venerable Minh Tai, abbot of the Hue Quang Pagoda, came to the poor baby’s rescue.
Tai has taken in more than 100 orphans over the years, giving them a safe place to live and grow until they found a foster family.
When Tai learnt of the baby girl’s plight, she immediately adopted her. With the help of her nuns, Tai currently takes care of ten orphans.
Tai also managed to raise $25,000 from kind Facebook users and the temples in Vietnam to pay for the baby’s medical bills.
The baby girl was named Hoai An, which means perpetual peace in Vietnamese. Baby Hoai has a number of health issues but doctors are doing the best they can for her.
“I wouldn’t write her off at this point; that would be wrong. There is a chance her condition will improve.” Dr. Tang Kok Kee, a neurosurgeon treating Hoai told the Straits Times.
Tai also is doing the best she can for baby Hoai, by giving her unconditional love and praying for her. “She is sleeping better, crying louder and has more of an appetite. She has also gained about 700g in weight and her reactions have improved,” Tai said.
Please remember to share this article with friends and family to garner prayers and well wishes for baby Hoai as she fights for her life and to show appreciation for all the incredible people who have helped so far.
Five Guys staff sees a customer too weak to order—so they feed him a free meal
There is always something amazing going on within the local communities. Last month, customers of the Five Guys restaurant in Detroit witnessed an uplifting random act of kindness between the restaurant staff and a sick customer.
Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood, Five Guys franchise manager was having a normal day at work when he saw a familiar face at the restaurant — It was Leonard. He noticed that the customer was not feeling alright.
“This time when he came in, he was having trouble ordering, saying he was sick,” Justin told FOX 2 Detroit.
As Leonard struggled to make his order, Justin decided to give him the full meal: a burger done “all the way” (topped with all the classic ingredients), plus fries and a drink.
And he didn’t charge him for the meal. “He was so unwell that he couldn’t even process the order himself,” Justin said. “So we just gave it to him.”
It didn’t just end there. Leonard was too weak to feed himself. That’s when a Justin stepped up once again and fed the man.
The manager has really won the hearts of many people.
“At Five Guys we don’t have — or believe in canned interactions but in the genuine interactions,” Justin told Liftable. “All of our interactions are genuine.”
“Every guest is special to us,” he told FOX 2. A random customer at the restaurant took photos of the scene and shared them online. The photos have since gone viral.
Justin was surprised that people were making a big deal of it after his story went viral and got picked up by news outlets.
“It came as a surprise to me, that so many are surprised to see this level of service for our guests,” he told Liftable.
“What I am most grateful for is the impact the story has had on my team,” Justin said. “Too often my staff and I hear negative stories about the city we call home and often morale is lowered because ‘who wants to work in that environment.’”
It is amazing how a small act of kindness can impact a lot of people in the community.
“I believe that every person has the ability to make an impact on a person’s life through small acts, like this one,” Justin said.
Share this uplifting story with your friends
Heartbroken grandfather eats alone next to late wife’s memorial at granddaughter’s wedding
Everyone loves weddings because it’s usually a great time for families both from near and far to come together and celebrate someone’s special day.
Unfortunately, sometimes some family members are just too far away from us.
Sahrah Elswick together with her husband Zachery were celebrating their marriage when Sahrah decided to set up a tribute to her beloved grandmother “mawmaw,” who died in 2017
She didn’t realize that the seat she was about to set up for her mawmaw will create a heartbreaking moment.
At her wedding, a white chair with photos of Mawmaw and a sign on it that read, “We know you would be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away,” was set up to honor her grandmother.
“It meant everything to me to see this at my wedding. It was so important that she be a part of my day because we were very close and I’m so glad I did it because now I see that it meant even more to him,” Sahrah told TODAY Food.
While having dinner, Sahrah spotted a scene that made her burst into tears – her grandpa was sitting with the special memorial.
“When I saw him sitting there I immediately burst into tears I was just so heartbroken and also in awe at how much he loved her,” she said.
Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw today at my wedding 🥺 pic.twitter.com/GEXWMCfgXB
— Sahrah Elswick (@sahrahMichelle) July 7, 2019
“I just wanted to sit with her and be there with her,” Pawpaw said. Pawpaw and Mawmaw were married for 45 years and its evident they had a “loving relationship filled with fun” and you can tell by how she is missed.
Sahrah captured and shared the moment on social media and it has since gone viral.
Sahrah’s story just made me shed some tears. Share this story if you have a loved one that you miss so much.