Seven priests and seminarians on a floating tiki bar rescued a drowning man on Lake George in Albany, New York.
Jimmy MacDonald spent a day at the lake kayaking with his family, but “drifted away” from them while taking photos.
However, the waters became choppy and his kayak tipped. He then lost his paddle, and floated in 30 feet of water with an ill-fitting life jacket.
MacDonald said his “boxer’s pride” prevented him from calling passing kayakers and canoeists for help. However, once he waved for help, no one saw or heard him.
“That’s when I said, ‘Alright, I think I might die today. I think this might be it.’ I prayed to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for help,” MacDonald told WNYT News.
Suddenly, “out of the corner of my eye,” MacDonald described, “I saw the tiki boat.”
Aboard the tiki boat were priests and seminarians from the Paulist Fathers, who own a summer home on Lake George.
Tiki Tours captain Greg Barrett said he “noticed the paddle about 20 feet from the kayak. There was a strong south wind, and I blew my horn to get his attention. It looked like he was floundering.”
“One of the priests heard him yell [for] help, and then I noticed his life preserver was not fitted properly and was up around his neck,” Barrett continued.
“So Deb Oliveira, our new deckhand on her first day of work, and four of the priests scooped him up onto the bow of the boat. His eyes were the size of silver dollars.”
Paulist seminarian Chris Malano said he believes it was their “mission to be present and to help someone in need” that day.
MacDonald said he takes this “as a sign from God that He’s got me here for a real reason.”
He added that as a recovering addict, he found it “ironic” that a tiki bar saved him.
“It was all a bit traumatizing, but I trust that maybe it happened for a reason. I’ve since told the story to others, that just like getting sober, I couldn’t do it on my own. Trying to fix things myself almost cost me my life until I admitted I was powerless and asked for help.”