Sixteen years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, Manuel Cordova, a migrant from Mexico, made a fateful choice: upon encountering a 9-year-old boy alone in the Arizona desert, he gave up on the dream that had taken him across the border into the US. He chose helping this child over trying to stay in the US. The boy, Chris Buchleitner, and his mother had been on a camping trip. She lost control of their van and was seriously injured in the rollover accident; she was still breathing but was trapped in the van. Buchleitner and Cordova were able to communicate and when Cordova understood the situation, he chose to stay with the boy and try to get help for his mother. He lit a fire and waited for help to come; Chris' mother died during the night. When authorities came, Cordova was arrested and returned to Mexico. After returning to Mexico, Cordova was briefly flown back to the US to be recognized for his selfless choice and lauded as a hero. His life in Mexico took a different trajectory as a result of the encounter: he got off drugs, got closer to his family, and started working to pay child support. Buchleitner grew up with his aunt's family in Pennsylvania. He is now a nurse working with cardiac patients. The boy who survived is now helping to save the lives of others.

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