Still from a video on Twitter showing Khalad Mohammad carrying an elderly woman to his pickup truck on Nov. 16, 2021. The woman and her husband were stranded in rising flood waters in their car on South Parallel Road. (Twitter)

Still from a video on Twitter showing Khalad Mohammad carrying an elderly woman to his pickup truck on Nov. 16, 2021. The woman and her husband were stranded in rising flood waters in their car on South Parallel Road. (Twitter)

OPINION: Video of man’s rescue of elderly couple on flooded road shows heroism

Most of us are mostly good most of the time, and we could all use a little more Khalad in our life

During and after major ongoing news stories, particularly natural disasters, there are countless stories to tell.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

While the very definition of news is mostly the bad and the ugly, we do try to tell the positive stories when we find them.

Good deeds are more common than many of us realize, particularly in the direst of times.

The most recent natural disaster that overwhelmed newsrooms in the Fraser Valley was of course the atmospheric rivers that led to catastrophic flooding of the Sumas Prairie.

I sent out a Tweet in November that had an interesting impact. It was a short video clip (not taken by me) of a car and a pickup truck back-to-back, facing in opposite directions in about a metre of water on South Parallel Road in Abbotsford.

The video shows a man carrying an elderly woman in his arms from the car to his pickup truck through the thigh-high water. With no context, one can guess what is happening in the video: a rescue.

In this throwaway social media world, we often share this or that, and move on to the next thing.

The man in the video, I learned, is Khalad Mohammad. A day after I sent out that Tweet, he responded but I didn’t notice it.

“Hi Paul, I was just sent this video from a friend. Haha, that was me helping those folks. I guess that was you taking pics next to the firemen? That poor couple, they were sure confused.”

Two weeks ago his sister-in-law, Yasmin from Delta, got in touch with me to say that Khalad is a true hero and he deserves to be recognized. She said he grew up in Chilliwack and he’s an owner of a construction company in Abbotsford. After the floods stabilized and he dealt with flooded outbuildings on his own Sumas Prairie acreage, he got to work with his wife Marla to deliver care packages to neighbours.

“Among the many other people he helped, he has never expected anything in return,” Yasmin said.

So I got in touch with Khalad to have a chat about what led up to that short clip of him carrying an elderly woman through the water.

He told me he was driving around the area as water levels were rising to get a sense of where flood waters were going. He was on South Parallel Road when he watched a white car drive into the water, and then stall. He watched and wondered what they were going to do. Finally, he reversed his pickup close the car. A fire crew was on Highway 1 but they couldn’t get to the scene because of the water in the deep ditch.

He was calling out to whomever was in the car. No response. Khalad decided he had to act. He waded up to the driver’s door and found an older couple, likely in their 80s.

“He looked terrified,” Khalad said of the driver, water up to his seat. “He was sitting in water.”

The man told Khalad to get his wife first, so Khalad went to the passenger side, picked her up and carried her to his truck.

Then he helped the man and wrapped them up in an emergency blanket, before driving them to meet up with a fire crew who took over.

A stranger carrying a stranded elderly woman from a car filling with water.

How many moments like this go unseen, unnoticed?

A glimmer of humanity.

It’s a reminder that despite all the “bad news” we report, most of us are mostly good most of the time.

Khalad saw an older couple stranded in a car. No one was helping. He didn’t panic. He didn’t ignore the situation. He just got to work.

I watched the video over and over. It’s a short clip. It’s not terribly dramatic. It’s not a firefighter rescuing a person from a burning building. It’s not a search-and-rescue volunteer pulling a stranded angler off a raging river.

It’s just a man carrying a woman from a car to a truck in knee-high water. She might be someone’s grandmother. She was cold, and likely scared.

I agree with his sister-in-law. What he did was heroic.

We are living through hard days and months and years, and we could all use a little more Khalad in our life.

RELATED: PHOTOS: Abbotsford hit hard by flooding after heavy rainfall

RELATED: VIDEO: Abbotsford flooding revealed on media tour


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