Instinct took over as Jason Barnes moved to start forming the human chain that rescued a woman nearly swept away in the Ellicott City flood waters.
“I don’t know if I was in a total state of shock,” said Barnes, the owner of All Time Toys on Main Street.
Barnes joined hands with four others to save a woman trapped inside her car as a deluge of water rushed through old Ellicott City Saturday night.
There wasn’t much of a conversation between himself and other local business owners who spotted the woman in the Volkswagen Beetle. And there wasn’t much talking afterwards, he said.
“We just let everything sink in,” Barnes said.
Barnes had closed his shop, which he took ownership of about two months ago, and began to head home when it started to rain hard. He decided to turn back around and check on the shop.
Ellicott City floods, after all.
The store’s basement was filled with about a half-inch of water when Barnes entered it. But the water kept rising, up to three inches, he said.
“I’ve never seen it get that high before,” Barnes said.
He looked behind him, and realized the back door must have blown out, because the water went from about three inches to three feet in a matter of seconds.
Barnes said he looked outside and saw cars floating down the street.
He was joined by some other local business owners, and they watched as the flooding grew worse and worse.
“We saw the Bug floating down the street, and we saw there was a woman in it,” he said.
That’s when they joined hands, with Barnes in the water, and tugged her to safety.
The video of their actions had already been viewed more than 208,000 times on YouTube as of Wednesday afternoon.
Barnes said he’s been able to visit his shop for a minute, and is currently navigating the insurance process.
He hopes to open the store up again within three months.
“The outpouring of support we’re getting is just amazing,” he said.
Barnes’ stepmother set up a GoFundMe page for him, which has already raised more than $25,000.
The father of three said he’s been with his company for about a decade, but bought out the previous owners several months ago.
“This was my childhood dream,” Barnes said.