Ashley Aldridge, a 19-year-old mother of two, has become a local hero after saving the life of 75-year-old Earl Moorman. Now she’s enjoying a hero’s treatment for her quick thinking and impressive strength.
According to the State Journal-Register, Aldridge was busy preparing lunch when she heard Moorman yelling on the Washington Street rail tracks near her home in Auburn, Illinois. She ran to her neighbor, who agreed to watch her kids while she helped the Moorman.
That’s when she heard the train whistle.
Ashley Aldridge explained that she tried to get the man out of harm’s way, but his wheelchair wouldn’t move.
“His back wheels were stuck on the track. They weren’t coming out. I tried lifting the chair, but that didn’t work. Then I looked over and the train was right there. I was like, I’m going to keep trying. I tried again and I ended up lifting him just enough that I could tilt the wheelchair back and then I started pulling him.”
Ashley managed to get the 200-pound man to safety just as the train came barreling down, shattering the wheelchair still on the track. Police reports say the Amtrak was zooming through town at 81 mph, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Aldridge says the only thing going through her mind during the rescue was Earl’s well-being, later explaining, “I’m just glad he’s OK.”
The same couldn’t be said for Earl Moorman’s wheelchair; pieces were found clear on the other side of Auburn.
Now various businesses are giving the woman Moorman calls his “guardian angel” a hero’s treatment.
In the nearby town of Chatham, a local grocery store gave Aldridge a supermarket shopping spree and the title of “Hometown Hero.” She grabbed $187 worth of food in three minutes.
“I’m pretty excited because we haven’t been able to buy a whole bunch of food for the kids. I’m glad I can finally make them real food and not macaroni and cheese all the time.”
The timing was excellent for the young woman’s family. A robber recently broke into her home and stole money meant to pay bills.
Other donations included free Amtrak tickets for the Aldridge family and an honorary black belt from a local martial arts academy.
As for Earl Moorman, the wheelchair was the man’s only means of transportation, according to his son-in-law, and local radio WTAX is organizing a donation pool to get the senior citizen a new set of wheels (more information on how to donate is here).
[Image Credit: Luke Sharrett/Getty Images]