‘In a trembling voice, the cashier answered the phone. ‘Oh my god, sir,’ I exclaimed. Is your son a tall, robust young man with black hair?’ ‘Love conquers all,’ says 16-year-old’ hero’ who saves three children from sex trafficking.

“Me: How are you?

Wife: Have you received a call from Canaan?

No, is he all right?

Wife: He seems to be both a hero and a moron. He called to tell me that he had wrestled a man attempting to harm several children at a Dona Ana petrol station. We got off the phone, and I haven’t been able to contact him since.

Me: Excuse me…

I’ll look for him.

My 16-year-old son, who was on spring vacation from school, was the first person I called. I traveled the 4 minutes from my house to the gas station after the initial no response. No one was let in because the doors were locked. I was nervous and feverishly searching for my son, fearful for his safety and not knowing where he was or what condition he might be in. As I drove through town looking for his truck, I contacted the gas station. His vehicle was nowhere to be found. His phone was unanswered. Is he being treated in a hospital? He could be at the police station. He needs an adult by his side who is looking out for his best interests.

Hello? said the cashier, plainly upset and out of breath, as she answered the phone in a weak voice.

Yes, ma’am, I believe there was an incident not long ago?

Clerk: Oh, yeah.

Me: I was told my kid was there and that he was involved with a guy, potentially fighting him?

Clerk: Does your son have black hair and is tall and strong?

Yes, I say!

Clerk: Oh my God, sir, your son…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was…he was… A nasty man with an evil laugh was attempting to steal some children. He was unconcerned about anyone. He was causing harm to others. We tried tossing bottles at him, but it didn’t work. He savagely thrashed us. We knew the cops were far away, and we knew this man would abduct the children since we couldn’t stop him. The door opened, and your son walked in; as soon as I understood, the kids were in danger, and evil was going to win. He didn’t pause for a second. He jumped in and overpowered this man, holding him down until the cops arrived.

Do you have any idea where my son is?

Clerk: I’m sorry, but I don’t have any. He fled after speaking with the cops.

Courtesy of Troy Bower

Canaan eventually phoned me and expressed astonishment that I had heard about the incident and was even more startled than discussing it. ‘Dad, I simply did what had to be done.’ That lady and her children required my assistance. I detained the man until the cops arrived, and then I went about my business.’ Canaan was walking across the lawn to the front entrance later that day. I encircled him with my arms and held him tightly. He looked me in the eyes after our embrace, grinning with delight. Not because of what he’d done, but because his heart was overflowing. I was pleased with him. I squeezed him. I didn’t even have time to close the front door before he was sucked into my arms. ‘You would have done the same thing, Dad.’

Many people have talked about what they would have done in the weeks and months following the attempted kidnapping. He was bashed in the face, shot, put in a headlock, and had his life sucked out of him. And my message to them all is the same as the one I gave Canaan after our embrace: ‘I like to think I would’ve done the same thing.’

The truth is, none of us will know until we are in that circumstance. Armchair quarterbacking is simple. It’s simple to play the role of armchair detective or hero. We all have hectic schedules and places to go. Many of us were so preoccupied that we didn’t notice or hear the disturbance immediately in front of us. Others would rather be the hero who dialed 911 or recorded it on their phone for all to see on social media. None of us had any idea what we would do. However, it is on your resume, son. You made it happen.

We later learned that Canaan had stopped kidnapping three minors who were being trafficked for prostitution. If Canaan had not stepped up and done what he needed to do, those innocent children would have died or lived a horrific existence. Canaan was well-prepared, having competed in the State Wrestling Tournament two weeks prior and winning the District Championship last week. Canaan was at a different gas station across the street when he heard the disturbance. He sensed something wasn’t quite right and acted quickly.

Courtesy of Troy Bower

He could discern when a threat was present and knew how to avoid it. He approached the situation with no regard for his safety, saw a man covered in blood, entered the store, and sprinted across the blood-soaked floor to reach a man kicking down a door where the children were sheltering. I had no idea if the man was armed with a knife or a gun or what amount of danger he was in. He only knew that something had to be done, and he believed in himself, especially once he had closed the distance and was face to face with this wicked man.

In the end, good triumphed. It may come at a cost, but good always triumphs. Canaan performed what had to be done, with no profit or attention in mind. The video clearly shows that he was in a risky scenario and never considered himself. Canaan is a mighty and talented warrior. More importantly, Canaan is a beautiful guy who cares about others and does the right thing. “Love triumphs over all.”

Courtesy of Troy Bower

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