Working at a gas station or convenience store is often thought to be a bit of a dangerous job since you have to work overnight shifts, sometimes alone, and you never know who might walk in through the front doors.
A high school peer of mine was stabbed to death while working a night shift in a convince store by a man attempting to rob it. However, when thugs entered the gas station store that Savannah Pritchett was working in, they weren’t looking to harm her.
They were looking for their kidnapping victim who had fled and ran into the gas station moments earlier.
In CCTV footage from the store, a young woman, who is obviously distressed, can be seen entering the gas station store and approaching Pritchett. They can be seen talking before Pritchett locks the doors and leads the woman to the bathroom. She also gives her a cell phone to call 911.
The young woman revealed that she had convinced her captors to let her use the restroom inside the gas station store, but once inside, she acted fast, taking Pritchett by the arm and explaining that she had been kidnapped and that her captors had two guns in the car waiting outside.
Moments after Pritchet led the young woman to the restroom and locked the door, she let the waiting men, who were the alleged kidnappers, into the store, telling them the reason for the locked door was because the young woman had started her period.
Pritchett claims she unlocked the front doors and allowed the men inside so that the kidnappers wouldn’t suspect anything was going on. After all, they easily could have broken through the glass and forced their way in if they knew the clerk was hiding their victim.
“I knew that if I left the door locked they would have caught on to something and probably took off. So I went back up there, and I unlocked the door. They seriously had no idea that I knew anything,” Pritchett told ABC.
With the young woman calling 911 from the locked bathroom, it wasn’t long before police stormed the gas station with guns drawn and arrested 18-year-old Anthony Sandoval and three juvenile suspects who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The woman, who had been kidnapped a day earlier 90 miles away in Fresno, California, had allegedly been sexually assaulted. She is now safe and home with her family, thanks to the police and the quick thinking of both the young woman and Pritchett.
To see just how quickly Pritchett had to think to save the woman, check out the video below:
Now, Pritchett is being celebrated for her bravery. Stanislaus County Sheriff Department have called her “a true hero” for the role she played in helping the young woman and arresting her kidnappers.
In a Facebook post from last Saturday night, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department applauded Pritchett, writing, “Her bravery and quick-thinking saved a woman who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The clerk stepped up, locked the doors, hid the woman and called our deputies… When we work together, we can do great things in our community.”
However, Pritchett feels uncomfortable with her new hero status and claims she was just doing what she hoped anyone else would do in her situation.
In an interview with Good Morning America, she said, “No, I don’t want to be called a hero, because I would just hope that if anyone came up to you talking about the need help and they’ve been kidnapped, I really hope that they would have helped her too.”
She continued, “The girl told me she tried to get help from two different guys in Fresno and I think in Bakersfield or something and both the guys drove right off from her.”
Two men were arrested immediately at the scene, including Anthony Sandoval, while two more were arrested shortly after. It is believed that the four men all have ties to local gangs so it’s unlikely this is their only offense.
In fact, the men will have to face charges of armed robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping from this incident alone.
Upon hearing of the arrests and that the young woman is okay, Pritchett said, “I’m very thankful that I got to help that girl and I am very thankful that she’s home safe with her family and now I’m happy that they got those guys off the street.”
Whether she wants to be called one or not, Savannah Pritchett really is a true hero and we need more people like her in our communities. Good people seem to be few and far between these days, so it’s wonderful to reward those who are truly making a difference.
Let’s all have a huge round of applause for Pritchett and we wish her all the best.