MADISON COUNTY, GA (WXIA/CNN) — A Georgia man was at the right place at the right time to save a baby found crawling alongside a highway.
Bryant Collins is now being hailed as a hero for rescuing the 15-month-old girl.
Long ago, Collins of Madison County learned the value of choosing the right path.
“I’ve been in a lot of bad situations,” Collins said.
But this past Friday, he saw something he had never seen before. He found a chance to save a life on the side of the road.
“When I got out, it was a baby almost right here. Almost in the highway,” Collins said.
What was his reaction?
“The same as yours would have been, man? ‘what the hell is going on? A baby?” Collins said.
A 15-month-old baby that had crawled through the woods, 300 yards from home.
Collins: I just found a little baby crawling in the street, man…
Dispatcher: There’s a baby crawling on the bridge?
Collins: A baby’s on the highway!
Emergency crews arrived and police arrested the child’s father, Timothy Pickens. They will likely arrest the child’s mother as well.
In a follow-up story on WXIA, the Pickens claim they were in their backyard bagging aluminum cans for recycling while Emily was napping in the house with her three older brothers, including 12-year-old James, who was supposed to be watching her.
When they came back inside, the front door was open and Emily was gone.
The Pickens said they panicked, searched frantically for her for about 10 minutes and then called 911, only to be told the child had been found wandering along a nearby highway.
As for Bryant Collins, he stayed with the baby for two hours.
“So the baby started crying then. So I turned my phone on and let the baby listen to some gospel music, and she calmed back down. I know gospel music calm me down,” Collins said.
On this day he is a hero. But Collins could never have saved the life of this baby if he had not, long ago, saved his own.
“I did ten years in the federal institution for manufacturing cocaine. While I was in prison, I decided I can’t come home like I came to prison,” Collins said.
Collins has been free and clean for five years. And it’s in his new job, as an auto repairman, that he found himself here on the side of the road with a baby’s life literally in his hands.
“It made me feel good that I could be in society and do good, just as well as you can do pal. You can do good, you know,” Collins said.