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Mom uses TikTok to track down Cleveland fan who saved her child from a hockey puck

There was just over a minute left on the clock for during a hockey game in Cleveland on Thursday when a player hit the puck, sending it into the stands and toward Asia Davis’ 4-year-old son. This is when another fan jumped and extended his right arm to stop the puck from hitting the boy’s head.

Sitting in bed later that evening, Davis held the puck that nearly hit her son, Nasir. She thought about how hurt he could have been if the fan hadn’t helped him and later posted on TikTok in hopes of finding him.

“I owe this man lunch or dinner, another thank you,” Davis said in the video, “…because I can’t imagine my baby getting hit by that hockey puck.”

The video, which received more than 4 million views, quickly reached Andrew Podolak, who Davis said wrote in a TikTok post that he was glad he protected his son.

Davis, Podolak and Nasir met again Saturday in another American Hockey League game, when they dropped the puck before the Cleveland Monsters faced the Laval Rocket. Davis, 33, told the Washington Post that she was happy to hug Podolak and thank him for this she said it could have saved lives.

Davis, Nasir and her friend met Podolak when they was sitting next to him, a few rows from the ice, Thursday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. A victory would secure the Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate a spot in the playoffs.

A little more than a minute before the Monsters’ victory, Davis’ friend raised his phone to record the players’ fights and celebrations on the ice. That’s when a Cleveland player deflected a pass and sent the puck into the air.

Davis said she didn’t have time to react. Podolak, sitting on the other side of Nasir, jumped up and extended his arm, changing the trajectory of the puck and sending it over Nasir’s head. Nasir didn’t even see the puck, Davis said, but shards of ice fell into his hair.

“The kids behind us picked up the puck and gave it to my son,” Davis said. “And, you know, I lifted the puck and realized what he had just escaped.”

Davis thanked Podolak and asked him to pose for a photo with Nasir and joked that he should be a goalkeeper. But at the end of the game, she was still processing how close the puck was to her son’s face. She said her head hurt and her stomach hurt when she left the arena.

The next day, she called the arena hoping to identify the fan. As staff asked for more time to locate him, she posted a TikTok video early Saturday morning featuring the photo of Nasir and Podolak. She doubted she would be able to find him through the social media app.

When she woke up about eight hours later, Davis said the video had gone viral. She said Podolak messaged her and Davis responded saying she would buy him playoff tickets later this month.

On Saturday afternoon, the Monsters invited Davis, Nasir and Podolak to their game that evening. When the trio arrived at the arena, cameras from local television stations followed them as Davis and Podolak hugged. They greeted the players before they took the ice and recounted Podolak’s block to reporters.

“I also had a few other kids sitting behind me, so I just tried to jump in front,” Podolak told Fox 8 News.

Watching the game from the stadium’s front row seats, Davis was nervous that another puck would fly toward Nasir. So the 4-year-old sat between the adults, in case Podolak’s exploits were needed again.

While Davis said she still suffers from “PTSD” from the incident, Podolak’s efforts helped make Thursday a memorable night for Nasir for a different reason. He was so excited that the fans gave him the puck that was flying next to him, he has been holding it while he sleeps ever since.

washingtonpost

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