It was the hug seen around the world — a picture of Jim Routon, an Oklahoma man embracing his 7-year-old neighbor, Hezekiah Darbon after he found the child alive following a tornado that hit his school.
The two talked to Good Morning America about the heartfelt moment when the pair shared an epic hug.The 47-year-old rushed over to Briarwood Elementary School to help rescue the students after the tornado when he saw Hezekiah, who he calls “Little Dog," running towards him. Routon swept him up in his arms, and the rest is history as the act was caught on camera and has since gone viral. Hezekiah said he knew he was safe when he saw “Big Dog,” aka Routon when he arrived at the school.
“I saw you and ran up to you and just jumped on you and I knew that you were gonna pick me up, so I just jumped,” little Hezekiah told Routon on CNN. “And you picked me up and I just started hugging you really hard and I was crying a little bit and I was happy I survived.”
“When we got to the school, it was pretty much chaos and destruction and people were just running in all directions trying to find their children,” Routon told Good Morning America. “It was really a surreal event. ... The reunion was pretty special, he wasn’t hurt. ... I felt like I needed that hug as much as he did.” Routon said Hezekiah gave him hope when he saw him running up to him.
“There was just so much chaos we just weren’t sure,” Routon told CNN. “The school was pretty much devastated and destroyed and we just weren’t sure if anyone was gonna come out alive. ... So to go over and see one of my favorite neighbors was awesome, just an amazing feeling, it was awesome.”
Watch the interview below with Hezekiah and his hero neighbor Jim!
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