The screaming frightened 23-year-old Aaron Cahal, an autistic Ohio man who lives with his parents and is unable to speak.
It was loud and scary, and seemed to be coming from down the street. But with that unease and worry came a powerful urge to help whoever was howling like that.
He set out on foot from his back yard, following the screams and clutching his cell phone.
As he march down the street, he messaged his dad and the South Point Police. “He sent me a text saying ‘I hear a scary cry,’’’ Steve Cahal told InsideEdition.com.
His dad, who was inside the family’s home at the time, hadn’t realized his son was no longer in the backyard. So he set out to find Aaron.
Meanwhile, Aaron was taking pictures of the houses in his neighborhood and sending them to the police. He also sent a text begging them to come, saying he heard “big crying people scary people.”
When he reached the apartment complex where all the screams and shouts were coming from, he sent a photo of that building as well.
Unbeknownst to Aaron, the shouts were coming from the father of an 18-month-old toddler who had stumbled into a swimming pool and appeared to have drowned.
A woman retrieved the child and performed CPR before emergency vehicles arrived.
“They didn’t know where to go,” Steve Cahal said, because they didn’t have an address. But they were able to match the apartment building with the photo Aaron had sent them.
The police thanked Aaron, hailing him a hero. But for him, it didn’t seem to be a big deal.
“He really just came back inside,” said his mother, Lorena. He was diagnosed with autism when he was two and has always lived with his parents. He will continue to live there “as long as I can take care of him,” she said.
He can’t talk — or at least he can’t form words in a way that makes sense to his parents. “It’s like he’s speaking a foreign language,” his mother explains.
There have been difficulties along the way, she said, but that's not what they focus on.
“We’re blessed,” said Lorena. “He’s shown us so many blessings.”
And now he’s credited with helping to save the life of an 18-month-old baby.
“I really don’t think he realizes what happened,” his mom says. “I think he understands that he did something good. But I really don’t think he comprehends it.”