An employee at this gas station noticed a woman’s silent plea for help

New to his job at a gas station, Marks wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. He’d only been working there for a month and was still getting the hang of things when something unexpected happened. A woman drove up to the service window, but she wasn’t a customer. As Marks got a look at her, he suddenly realized that her life was hanging in the balance – and it was up to him to save her.

Doing his duty

When you go to work, your boss can expect you to go above and beyond to show your dedication to the job. However, that doesn’t usually mean going out of your way to try and save someone’s life.

Anthony Marks, a worker at BP gas station, hadn’t expected Independence Day to be anything special in 2018, but after a woman pulled up and mouthed the words “help me,” that all changed. Thinking on his feet, Marks did what he could to come to her aid, but was he too late?

Struggling in the sun

Summers might be known for being warm, but over the last few years, they’ve been getting a bit too hot. Many countries around the world experienced a warmer summer than most would have liked in 2018, and it made life pretty unbearable.

Temperatures in Steubenville, Ohio – where Marks lived and worked – reached an average of 83 degrees Fahrenheit in July, much higher than was normal for the area. Most of the U.S. was in the grips of an intense heatwave, and it had a devastating impact on people’s lives.

Trying to keep cool

People were advised to stay at home whenever possible to avoid exposing themselves to the overbearing heat outside. While they might not have been much more comfortable roasting indoors, at least there were ways for them to cool down there.

Anyone with an AC unit had the fortune of being able to blast themselves with cold air, though that wasn’t a luxury that everyone could afford. Unfortunately, sitting in front of an AC unit all day isn’t very productive, and a lot of people had jobs to go to.

Had a job to do

One of those people was Anthony Marks. Although he would’ve preferred not to work in the intense heat, he couldn’t just stay at home. He’d only been at the job for a month, and it wouldn’t set a good impression if he stopped showing up all of a sudden.

He was dedicated to proving that hiring him had been the right thing to do, and the impending paycheck was an excellent incentive to keep at it. Little did he know just how much he’d be needed at work that day.

Running some errands

Someone who hadn’t had to worry too much about exposing herself to the heat was Crystal Ault. In the days leading up to July 4th, she’d been able to avoid going outside.

However, she couldn’t stay indoors forever, and on Independence Day, she found herself needing to go out for several things. The journey she’d planned was short, and she never imagined it would pose a threat to her life. After only getting a block away from home, disaster struck in the worst possible way.

A desperate plea

Finding herself in serious trouble, Crystal tried desperately to think of where she could get help. It was then she noticed the BP station, Crystal drove over and stopped by the service window.

That’s when she first set eyes on Marks. He’d expected it to simply be another customer, but as she’d pulled up, it was clear that wasn’t the case. He immediately noticed that something wasn’t right with the driver, but Crystal didn’t know how to express herself. She was so distressed that she couldn’t get her words out.

Lost for words

Crystal wanted to speak, but nothing was coming out of her mouth. Although she couldn’t use words to convey how much she needed Mark’s help, her general demeanor made it clear that something wasn’t right.

Luckily, despite being effectively rendered mute, Crystal did find a way to ask for assistance. She mouthed the words “help me” to the unsuspecting worker, prompting him to leap into action. If he hadn’t already been certain that something was wrong, now it was crystal clear. This woman needed him to save her life.

Rushing to help

Marks didn’t think; he just acted. There was no time to waste – Crystal’s life hung in the balance. He abandoned his station and rushed outside to her car, helping her out of it as she continued to be in great distress.

He had his theories about what was wrong with her, but he knew it was more important to get her somewhere safe first before doing anything else. By the time he’d sat her down inside and given her a glass of water, she was able to communicate at last.

Can’t breathe

The reason that Crystal had been desperate for help was that she couldn’t breathe. Given the state she’d been in when she’d pulled up to the service window, Marks had assumed it was something related to that, especially as he also suffered from breathing issues.

He’d noticed the signs immediately, and knew that he couldn’t just leave Crystal out there in her car while she was in such dire need. However, just because he’d brought her inside didn’t mean she was out of the woods yet.

Dealing with heatstroke

The difficulties she was having were related to heatstroke. The symptoms of this include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and, evidently, shortness of breath. Considering that Ohio, along with the rest of the U.S., was dealing with an uncomfortable heatwave, the onset of heatstroke was far from a shock.

The illness is severe enough that it takes lives, with people all around the world passing away from it every year. Crystal was lucky to have stumbled upon her guardian angel, especially as her existing medical condition put her more at risk.

An unfortunate condition

Crystal was previously diagnosed with emphysema, a disease that makes it difficult for her to breathe on occasion. There are ways to treat it, but as it stands, emphysema is not something that can be cured.

This is a degenerative disease that Crystal will have to live with forever, and there’s every chance it could be the thing that ends her one day. Given the fact that heatstroke causes shortness of breath, it can be easy to see how the heatwave and her emphysema were a potentially fatal combination.

Medical assistance required

Cooling your body down isn’t a quick fix for heatstroke. For serious cases, medical assistance is almost always essential. Marks knew that Crystal ought to be seen by a doctor, especially if she had existing breathing problems, but there was no time to get her to a hospital.

She was still struggling to breathe, and he was running out of time. Even though getting her inside helped cool her down a little, it didn’t solve the problem. He needed a way to help her before it was too late.

The missing cure

Things wouldn’t have been such an issue if Crystal had kept her inhaler with her. This was something she always had in her possession in case of emergency, but her last one had run out.

Figuring that her short trip outside wouldn’t trigger an attack, Crystal had taken the risk of going out without one. Unfortunately, it was during the one time she didn’t have it that she ended up needing her inhaler. Luckily, her guardian angel had a surprise in store that would give her the help she needed.

Coming to the rescue

Crystal wasn’t the only one who had problems with their breathing. Marks was in a similar position, which meant that he had his own supply of inhalers. Although he didn’t have any on him, he did have some at home.

Checking that Crystal’s condition was stable enough for him to leave her alone, he rushed back to his place and grabbed one for her to use. When he returned, she was still in a reasonable condition, though she wasted no time taking his inhaler and finally getting her breath back.


Crystal hasn’t been shy in admitting that Marks saved her life on Independence Day. If the BP worker hadn’t been so quick to offer her assistance, there was every chance she could have succumbed to her heatstroke.

He went above and beyond to provide her help, and it’s because of that that she’s still here today. It’s a stroke of luck that she happened upon someone who was not only happy to help, but who had the means to treat her particular condition. She couldn’t have been more fortunate.

Following his heart

Although Crystal has been more than complimentary towards Marks’ actions, the man himself has tried to downplay what he did. In his eyes, he was just doing the right thing.

The way he’d responded to her distress call was no different from how he feels every other person should react when they see someone in need. He hopes that if the roles were reversed and he was the one struggling to breathe, others would show him the same level of care and concern that he offered to Crystal.

A watchful eye

As the inhaler slowly did its job, Marks kept his eye on Crystal. He wanted to make sure that she didn’t have a relapse, and that she was in a stable enough condition before she went home.

While she recovered, he offered her a drink and regularly checked up on her to ensure that she was doing okay. If Independence Day is supposed to be all about celebrating the American spirit, then Marks was undoubtedly making the most of the special occasion. What’s more American than helping your fellow man?

Escorting her home

When it came time for Crystal to go home, Marks didn’t expect her to simply drive back by herself. He told her that he’d escort her home if only to make sure she didn’t have a repeat performance on her way back.

Crystal was flattered by his offer, but she was confused – how was he going to return to work afterward? That’s when he told her that he’d drive her home in her car, then walk back to the gas station. He really was going the extra mile.

Forever grateful

Crystal isn’t sure if she’ll ever find the words to truly express how grateful she is to Marks for saving her life. Even though everyone should display the same level of kindness that he did, she knows a lot of people wouldn’t have endeavored to help her like that.

Crystal even suggested that he get a job as a paramedic or policeman because he clearly has the passion and drive to care for others. While BP is lucky to have him, Marks’ big heart is wasted working at a gas station.

Rewarded for his efforts

Marks’ efforts didn’t go unrewarded that day. During a city council meeting a few weeks later, the worker was given a proclamation for the way he’d acted when Crystal needed help.

The mayor of Steubenville, Jerry Barilla, was proud to have met with the young man and hopes that other people will follow in his footsteps. If more people were as observant as Marks, particularly during times of such intense weather, then the risk of people losing their lives would drop significantly.

An everyday hero

Anthony Marks has now been commended as an everyday hero. His job might not have required him to go around saving lives, but when faced with the opportunity, he didn’t hesitate to do the right thing.

The world would definitely be a better place if everyone acted like this man, but then Marks’ achievements wouldn’t be quite so significant. One thing’s for sure, neither Crystal nor Marks will ever forget what they went through that day. Independence Day will forever have a new meaning in both their lives.