In case you missed it (which was probably hard to do if you are here because I have been bragging nonstop!) but Ryan saved someone’s life on Saturday while we were having dinner at Canoe, a riverfront restaurant in Vinings. I’m so incredibly proud of him that I completely abandoned this week’s blog post to write about it! And in case you are new here, Ry is my boyfriend of ~ five years- you can read how we met here!
Ryan on the News
I spent all my spare time this week managing his PR (I think I’ve found my second career haha!) and talking about what a hero my boyfriend is to anyone that will listen- the best part of this whole experience is that I feel like the world finally sees Ry how I see him- a hero, the kind of person that would do anything (like risk his life!) for a stranger, and someone that is constantly making the world a better place.
Ryan of course is too modest to care about any of the news and recognition- I called him upset about one article that was published that erroneously left him out of the rescue completely and he responded to me calmly and said, “Hannah, all I care is that you know, my parents know, and your parents know what happened. I was working a part time at Walmart last week and bought a woman a stroller, formula, and diapers when she couldn’t afford them, and no one knows that I did that.” I had barely known that he spent a few hundred dollars on a stranger while working part time two weeks ago- that’s just who he is.
And now the whole world can finally see Ryan the way that I do- the way he’s a wonderful person even when no one is watching. And to be honest, it’s a little weird to be on the news and have everyone reading about Ryan and myself- even as a blogger I hold back on my personal information. Notice that I never even shared my last name on my blog or on my social media, let alone my full-time job or where I live. Even as Belle on the Beltline has grown, it’s still a relatively small community in my own little corner of the internet.
One of the most vulnerable parts about all the publicity is that I never shared that Ryan is a police officer with you all. I’m extra protective of him after last summer when policing got extra-politicized and a few nasty people scrolled down on my Instagram and spotted a photo of him in uniform, and sent me some terrible messages. After having to block tons of people and some tears over my Instagram DMs, I decided that I would never share that part of our lives on my blog for fear of more hate mail. And now, his (incredibly handsome!) police headshot is all over the internet with his name.
I’m a little afraid of all this being out there- but I’m so proud of him that I don’t really mind. Ryan is a hero, and I am so incredibly proud of him, because this heroic news story isn’t the first time he has saved a life and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
What Happened at Canoe
My mom visited for Mother’s Day weekend last weekend, and it was her first visit since 2019! I was originally going to write about her visit as this week’s blog post, but instead I’m writing what I’m sure y’all are much more interested in- our Saturday night. We went to Canoe because Ry and I went with his parents on Easter, and I know my mom had missed out and wanted to see the gorgeous river-front restaurant.
We went for drinks on the bar on the river bank, stopping by to see one of my favorite readers (hi!) at the bar. A friend of mine from work also joined us and the four of us witnessed a gorgeous proposal on the river bank which we thought would be the most exciting part of the evening. Unfortunately my friend had to leave so I actually FaceTimed her so she could watch the rest of the proposal (the dedication is real!).
I was finishing my second Don’t Call Me Shirely and Ry had just gotten back with his second Diet Coke (he works the night shift and had to work that evening) when we spotted a woman floating by on a very flat inner tube. At first, I thought she was just having fun, but as she got closer it worried me that she was a) all alone and b) shooting the hooch on a not-so-warm night. There were tons of people on the bar that called out to her to see if she was OK, and a woman shouted out to ask. At first she laughed in reply, but then I realized that she wasn’t just laughing but was subtly shaking her head- I made eye contact with another patron and we both realized she was saying “no.”
I immediately said to Ryan “she’s not ok. You need to get in NOW.” And he looked at me and immediately took of his shirt, I demanded that he take off his watch (he was wearing his Tag, haha!) and the next thing I knew he was in the water. A manager from the restaurant, Tim Eskrew, also got in, and we all watched as they chased after the woman in the sinking float.
I, having been in the middle posting to my stories, started videoing him. The video is super short, because that’s how long you could see Ry- the current was so strong, y’all. I think when you hear the story, you imagine that it’s some big dramatic rescue with Ryan pulling out this woman in front of a crowd at a restaurant. But, in fact, Ryan was out of my sight in under ten seconds- we were all just hoping that Ryan and Tim, the manager from the restaurant, hadn’t drowned or ended up a mile away with the current.
Waiting to hear if they were okay was the longest fifteen minutes of my life- a waitress actually brought me another drink to calm me down, haha! I ended up in the woods to the left of the restaurant with the owner as we checked to see if they made it to the river bank- they had, a few houses down, and he went and got them with his truck and brought them back.
By the grace of God, everyone was OK- Ry and the restaurant manager were chilly, and the girl was so cold she was purple (she told us she had been in the water for two hours and had lost her boyfriend and couldn’t swim!), but Ry was an excellent match for the 40 degree water and strong current.
I’m so grateful he was there- it was a total God moment. Between dealing with the current, responding to the emergency, and saving her life, his experience as a lifeguard and police officer for years made him the perfect man for the situation. It terrifies me to think what would have happened if he wasn’t there.
I’m so grateful for him and Tim Eskew, the restaurant manager that jumped in with Ryan. They are both heroes and saved that woman’s life.
Links to Other Articles
In case you want to read more, ton’s of news stories have been posted about the events with quotes from other people involved (I shared my version, but I’m definitely a little biased haha!).