On Wednesday, a woman was getting her baby out of her car at a Chick-fil-A, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, when she was confronted by a man wielding a sharpened plank who demanded her car keys. The man, William Branch, 43, then snatched the keys out of her hand and attempted to steal her car.
Thankfully, she had someone looking out for her. When Chick-fil-A worker, Mykel Gordon, heard the woman screaming, he rushed to help, tackling Branch to the ground and holding him down while help arrived. During the struggle, Gordon took a punch to the face but refused to let go. He was not injured.
The situation was all caught on video. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the video of the selfless feat, writing, “A major shout-out to this young man for his courage!”
The sheriff’s office also reported that Branch had attempted another carjacking minutes earlier, reaching his hand into another occupied vehicle and attempting to unlock the door. It turns out that Gordon had also chased Branch away from that first car.
Chick-fil-A of Fort Walton Beach posted a picture of Gordon on Facebook, which said, “This is the HERO! This is Mykel Gordon! At Chick-fil-A our mission is to ‘Serve’ and today Mykel took it further……to ‘Save’.”
Matthew Sexton, who runs the Chick-fil-A, said, “I’m grateful for my amazing team member, Mykel Gordon, who so selflessly jumped in to intervene and help our guests. I couldn’t be prouder of his incredible act of care.”
The next day, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office showed up at Chick-fil-A to thank Gordon and give him a challenge coin and a community service award. Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Arden said, “What we say a lot of times is that service is in our DNA, that’s our mantra, that’s our motto. You clearly have service in your DNA from the job that you do here but you know you served and protected yesterday.”
Arden also said that while he was thankful Gordon was at Chick-fil-A, if he was ever interested in joining the sheriff’s office, “we may have an opening for you.”
Many people may go their entire lives without committing such a heroic act, but for Gordon, it was the second time he has been a hero while working at Chick-fil-A. In 2018, a truck carrying a crane rolled onto 17-year-old Hillary Henley’s car. The crane crushed the car, trapping Hillary and her friend Madison Newton inside. Gordon was outside in the parking lot taking orders when he heard a crash and rushed to the scene.
“I didn’t have any time to react,” said Gordon. “It was nothing but instinct and I ran to the car. I didn’t pull anybody out because that’s the wrong thing to do in that kind of situation. I just picked up (Madison) and took her to the side. I told her to calm down and she was all ballistic. She was telling me that (Hillary) was still alive.”
Hillary was attempting to crawl out of a small hole in the passenger’s side. Gordon told her to stay still and that he was coming to help her. He was unable to get to the door and ran inside to get towels and ice. A former volunteer firefighter, Jody Schofield, showed up to help. “She wasn’t saying anything. We couldn’t see her, but we knew she was in there. We decided to pull on the door again and it just popped open and we could see her rear end and her feet curled up. She started to wiggle,” Schofield said.
Both girls were able to walk away and were taken to the hospital. “I’ve seen a lot of wrecks with the fire department. They talk about miracles, and those girls had an extra something watching over them,” Schofield marveled.
Hillary’s father, Shannon, also called Gordon’s actions a miracle. “God resonates there,” he remarked. “It’s a miracle in many ways how this happened. But just to have people like this that step forward and make something happen, I know not everybody is gonna do something like that. I’m just real thankful and I wanted to come thank them.”
Gordon said he sometimes questioned why he was outside taking orders. “I think the Lord put me outside,” Gordon said. “As soon as this happened I had prayers in my head. I was helping her. I was on autopilot. My stepdad is a military man and I grew up doing what he was doing. When this happened I knew exactly what to do because of him. I thank God.”
Many times we may feel like our jobs have no meaning. Most of us don’t work as firefighters or police officers saving lives on a regular basis. We may question why we are there or if our jobs matter. In times such as those it is important to remember that God is sovereign over our lives, and He places us in situations where He wants us. Then, we as Proverbs 3:27 commands, we are “to act” when it is possible and “not withhold good from those to whom it is due.” This could be for a moment, such as those Mykel Gordon experienced, where if we weren’t there something tragic could happen. Or it could be that we are to be a witness to our coworkers or customers, sharing the love of Christ and possibly leading people to a closer walk with Him.
Whatever our jobs, Christians should face every day ready and willing to serve others. Not once but twice, Mykel Gordon has faced the call to help others, risking injury or worse to himself, and both times he has answered that call without hesitation. Gordon shows high character and selflessness, and whether wearing a badge from the sheriff’s office or a nametag from Chick-fil-A, that is the mark of a true hero.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.