Elderly woman saved by young couple during armed robbery
SAN ANTONIO - Hilda Diaz can still remember the exact size of the knife held to her stomach.
“In my gut I knew I was going to die," the 68-year-old recalled.
She took a quick trip to a South Side Walmart on February 10th, right before a Spurs game that she wanted to watch at home, when her life changed forever. Diaz said she came face-to-face with a monster in the parking lot.
“I pulled up in the parking lot and I grabbed my purse with my right hand and opened the door with my left hand, and just as I swung my body to get out, here he is," she told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf.
The bandana-clad, knife-wielding robber was identified by San Antonio police as John Rippstine. He’s been charged with aggravated robbery.
"What one word would you use to describe this man?” Wolf asked.
“Ugly," she said.
Wolf showed Diaz Rippstine’s mug shot. It was the first time she saw his face since the alleged robbery.
“What did he say?” Wolf asked.
“Give me your **cking money,” she said.
“He said that?” Wolf asked.
“Yes,” she nodded. “And in a very ugly way."
But evil is often overshadowed by good. Diaz believed she had Guardian Angels watching over her. They turned out to be a young couple. And they remained parked right next to her car during the incident after having car trouble.
“At that very perfect moment when my hand went up to grab the knife, here comes this car door,” she explained. “The kids were in the car door next to me and I was not aware that they were there. And he just very forcefully opened his car door and hit him with it."
Rippstine was reportedly knocked off his feet and left temporarily stunned. Diaz said the suspect eventually got back up and took off running. The man who hit him with his door also took off running after him. His wife stayed behind with Diaz and helped call police.
Both of them were nominated on CASH FOR KINDNESS for their heroism.
“I know this is going to be a surprise for you, but I called Ryan from Fox News because I wanted all of San Antonio to know of what you did," Diaz told them.
They reunited for the first time as part of the CASH FOR KINDNESS surprise. Michael and Yasmine Ramirez were stunned to see the camera rush over to their car. They thought they were meeting up with Diaz for lunch.
“Without you, I wouldn't be alive walking the streets of San Antonio,” Diaz added. “My daughter would be motherless. My grandkids wouldn't have a grandmother. My family would be missing me."
They put their own lives in danger to help a stranger. Michael is a delivery driver. His wife Yasmine works as a gas station attendant. They have two young children. One of them was in the car during the alleged armed robbery.
“What made you do what you did that day?” Wolf asked the couple.
“I have no idea,” Michael responded. “I guess just seeing somebody in trouble."
“We can't just sit there and let something bad happen,” Yasmine added. “That's not right. Anything could have happened. The jerk had a knife with him."
They not only physically intervened but also stayed with Diaz for emotional support. It took about 3 hours to help with the police investigation. Officers nabbed the suspect thanks to their assistance.
“I have a program on Fox San Antonio called CASH FOR KINDNESS,” Wolf said with a smile. “And we reward selfless acts of kindness.”
“We know!” Yasmine said with a nervous laugh. “We watch the news.”
“So you know what's going to happen next?" Wolf asked.
He handed them a stack of $100 bills.
"$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000,” Yasmine counted. “Oh my goodness!”
“You deserve that and so much more," Diaz told them.
“This is going to help us a lot,” Michael said with his wife crying on his shoulder. “We have two kids. It couldn't have come at a better time. That's for sure."
Diaz reached out to give them a hug and said “I owe you my life… I owe you my life."
Click here to nominate someone for the CASH FOR KINDNESS award.