For 19 year old Christopher Strickland, last Thursday started out like any other day at his job at the South Anchorage Home Depot. Little did he know, that was about to change. After catching a falling baby girl as she tumbled out of a shopping cart, this low-key teen rose to Internet fame because the act was captured on the store's surveillance video. A January 15 article in the Mirror reported that Strickland saved the child's life seconds before she would have hit the floor and news of heroic teen spread across the Internet and thrust him into the world spotlight.
All in a day's work
Strickland has lived in Anchorage his entire life and graduated from Grace Christian School last spring. His job as a pro-lot loader at Home Depot is his first job which he started three months ago. He helps contractors haul items like concrete mix out to their trucks, but last Thursday as he hung around the cashier area waiting for a customer he spotted a baby in a car seat balanced on one of the orange shopping carts. Strickland thought it looked risky.
"I thought I'd keep an eye on it, in case something happened." – Chris Strickland via Anchorage Daily News
His instincts were right. The baby began to tip out of the car seat. Strickland dashed toward the cart and caught the falling baby; snatching it from peril midair, just seconds before the infant's head would have hit the concrete floor. Chris Strickland cradled the baby with poise as if catching falling babies was part of his job. The truth is Strickland has only held a baby a couple of times in his life. He handed the child to the father who had been distracted at the cash register. The father thanked him profusely before leaving the store.
Video gone viral
The heroic teen had no idea that this nine-second encounter as he caught the falling baby would change his life. Someone took the surveillance footage and posted it on the Internet. It turned up on Strickland's church's Facebook page. The following Sunday, Strickland's brother, Dale, posted the video to YouTube with the title "Chris to the rescue" with the description "my brother saving a baby falling off a cart at Home Depot." From there it spread across the Internet. On YouTube it reached 50,000 views in just hours and by that afternoon had already reached 90,000. Other links to the video scattered across other social media like Facebook, Reddit, and LiveLeak where it quickly reached more than 300,000 views.
Nominated for Angel Award
Headlines started introducing the heroic teen letting the world know he had caught the falling baby, but Strickland says it was just reflexes that helped him catch the baby. His store manager, Brady Wilson, disagrees and said, "It was his character." Home Depot is recognizing Chris Strickland for his heroic act. He has been nominated for an "Angel Award" for acts of heroism in the store.
While Strickland has taken it all in stride, he did say the one thing about all this attention is that his parents were proud.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:5-7 HCSB)