EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally posted on Dunedin Patch and Palm Harbor Patch on Feb. 14. It was chosen for Huffington Post's Greatest Person of the Day feature on Feb. 15.
No doubt, it will be a Valentine's Day that John Thorington will remember. He ended the day a hero.
Thorington, 52, of Palm Harbor, was visiting a friend at her home in Dunedin near the intracoastal waterway on Feb. 14. Around 3 p.m., they were chatting in the backyard when they heard a screech, then saw a car flash by as it headed toward the water.
"It sounded like the driver hit something," Thorington said. "We heard the commotion, and we had already started running over there."
Thorington says it only took about a minute for him and some neighbors to reach the car in the water. By the time they got to it, the car was half submerged in the water, which had risen up to the seats inside.
The car's driver, Nicole L. Glazier, 28, of Clearwater, was panicked.
"She had the window rolled down and she was trying to get out, but she was kind of rattled," Thorington said. "I calmed her down a little bit, and we brought her on out."
He continued to talk to her as he carried her to shore, where paramedics were waiting.
"She didn't know how much time she had," he said. "She didn't know how deep the water was."
Thorington says there just happened to be a lot of people in the area when the car crashed, which led to the quick rescue. But there's another reason for Glazier to be thankful.
"She's fine, lucky her," Thorington said. But "there was a baby seat in the car; luckily, there was no baby in it."
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says Glazier was treated at the scene and taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A Sheriff's Office spokesperson says Glazier lost control of her 2001 Ford Explorer for unknown reasons and ended up in the intracoastal waterway between Lyndhurst Drive and Aberdeen Street.
Thorington says the friend that he was visiting told him that she has not seen anything like this happen in the 22 years she has lived there.
He is just glad the incident had a happy ending and he got to help someone.
"It feels good," he said. "My kids are taking me to dinner."