Almost 22 years ago, one tragedy was averted just because this man thought it was okay to spend an extra moment to go above and beyond his call of duty. The compassion he showed almost two decades ago is still shining brightly in someone’s life.
On one fateful night in October 1995, a construction worker, Gerald Rocky Hyatt, was dropping off the last load of trash in the dumpster in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, when he heard a whimpering sound, reported KSHB. When he searched through the dumpster, he realized the sound was coming from one double-knotted, white trash bag.
“The wind was blowing,” Gerald told NBC affiliate KSHB. “It was turning cooler. I just heard a little whimper, and I didn’t know if it was a baby or a cat. I went on further down the middle of the dumpster and I heard it again. And I saw the bag move. And I thought it was a baby. I wasn’t for sure. I was nervous and didn’t hardly know what to do.”
Gerald ran to the nearby hospital, seeking help. A nurse named Carol Szafranski ripped open the bag to find a blue-eyed baby girl. Later on, it was found that she was left to die at the dumpster by her birth mother.
The story of this baby girl, who was named Mary Grace by the nurses, soon made headlines throughout Chicago. Authorities put Mary Grace’s biological mother on trial, while the baby was adopted by Sandi Hill, who then renamed her as Morgan Hill.
Fast-forward almost 20 years later, Morgan knew she was adopted, but she had no idea about the dark and tragic early days of her life. She only learned about the truth from Sandi in 2014. Since then, she set her heart on finding the man who saved her life.
Two years later in 2016, with the help from KSHB’s reporter, Morgan got the precious chance to meet Gerald—whom she calls her “guardian angel.” Carol, the nurse who opened the trash bag, was also present at the reunion—the three of them met for the first time, again. The moment she saw them, she broke into tears.
“I still remember I opened it up … and I go, ‘It’s a baby! It’s a beautiful baby girl!’ and just scooped you right up,” said Carol. “You were just looking at everybody, not a worry, not a care. Just beautiful.”
Gerald, who had always been wondering about the 3-day-old baby he saved, showed up at the reunion with a pin recognizing his heroic actions, as well as a picture of him holding baby Mary Grace. He gave the pin to Morgan, who wears it every day since then.
During the touching reunion, he said to Morgan, “You were just three days old the last time you were in my arms.” And then both teared up, hugging each other like a father and daughter.
Morgan was grateful to Gerald for giving her a chance to live.
“I couldn’t say thank you enough for basically saving my life and giving me the chance to live a wonderful, beautiful life with the family I have,” she said.
Morgan was lucky that she was saved in the nick of time, but even today, many innocent babies are dumped like they are just a piece of rock. Through her story, Morgan hopes she’ll be able to save the lives of many others by showing their parents that there’s always a better option instead of throwing any baby away like a piece of trash.