Despite the fact that our movies and television shows are full of acts of heroism, most people are simply never put in a situation where heroism is called for. Because of that, the question of how we would act in those scenarios goes largely unanswered.
We each have different ideas about how we would react when the time comes but the truth is, we really don’t know until we’re there. When one man found himself confronted by an awful situation, he didn’t hesitate to take the noble course of action, proving himself to be a true hero.
On a typical Sunday in Bakersfield, California, Blaine met up with his friend Joe at a Starbucks for coffee. It was the sort of meeting they’d had countless times before where nothing more exciting happened than occasionally picking up the wrong person’s drink.
The Usual Scene
This time started off exactly the same as all the others with some Starbucks patrons sitting and chatting with each other, others tapping away on their laptops, and still more milling in, grabbing their coffee and heading out.
Then out of nowhere, a woman came screaming through the door. “She was panicked,” Joe told local news station KGET. “She was saying, ‘Help me.’ Then, at one point, she said, ‘This guy’s going to kill me.’”
People inside the Starbucks were all responding to the woman’s behavior in the way people tend to react to other people’s problems in public. Some did their best to watch without seeming to stare while others did everything in their power to avert their eyes and put on an impassive face. Then he came in.
Panic at the Starbucks
The man that the woman was apparently panicked about came in through the door with a look of fury on his face and worse, a machete in his hand. The Starbucks customers scattered and screamed while the man advanced toward the woman, but not Blaine.
The man darted over to the woman and began attacking her with the blade, striking and slashing her just as fast as he could. “She was just frantic while he was just stabbing her and stabbing her and stabbing her,” said Blaine. He was compelled to act.
“It was that fear on her face,” Blaine said. “I couldn’t just let it keep happening. You’ve got to do something. No way. […] No. That was what was going through my head. No. Absolutely not.” With that thought, he sprung to his feet and rushed toward the armed man as the customers scrambled away from him.
Into the Fight
Blaine Hodge grabbed the attacker by the shoulders and pulled him off of the wounded woman, throwing him to the ground. But in the struggle, one of his feet slipped out from under him and Blaine found himself on his back, with the machete-wielding man’s furious attention pointed right at him.
The man brought the machete down on Blaine again and again for what seemed like an eternity as he tried desperately to protect his head and torso. In truth, only a few seconds had passed but it was enough time to inflict several horrendous injuries.
Fleeing the Scene
When the man raised his sights to find his original target, he found out that it was also long enough for her to escape the store. Not seeing her, he ran out the door in an attempt to make an escape.
Blaine was severely wounded as he lay there on the floor of the Starbucks, as was the woman, who was somewhere outside of the building. Thankfully, someone had called 911 and paramedics arrived in time to stabilize their conditions before rushing them to the hospital.
The police also arrived on the scene quickly enough to catch the suspect before he got very far away. The man would later be identified as the 31-year-old Robert Rivas and the woman who he’d allegedly attacked had reportedly been his girlfriend.
The dispute supposedly began as a domestic disagreement at a nearby apartment complex and had escalated to the point where the woman feared for her life and ran to the Starbucks for help. Rivas was charged with a number of felonies, including two attempted murder charges for the attack on the woman and on Blaine.
Getting Patched Up
While details about the woman were withheld to protect her privacy, we know that Blaine Hodge’s injuries were extensive. He was hit with the machete in both hands, both arms, and in the knee. Doctors had to perform surgery on one of his hands and give him over 200 stitches as treatment.
You may be thinking that Blaine Hodge had some sort of combat or military training to be willing to put himself in harm’s way in that situation, but the truth is he was just a local artist and musician. In fact, he was preparing to release an album just a few weeks after the attack coincidentally called “The Mind Of A Hero.” He was clearly someone who practiced what he preached.
And to those around him, it came as no surprise that Blaine had thrown himself into harm’s way. His girlfriend Tori Toney said that it was a move completely in line with his character, adding “He would do it again. He could lose an arm and he would still do it again. And that’s just Blaine.”
The price Blaine paid was more than just physical. In a post to his Facebook page, he said that he had decided to postpone his scheduled album release show. “I’m getting better by the day, however, when it comes back down to it, I’m still in a lot of pain and dealing with flashbacks/PTSD,” he wrote.
“It is much worse in public spaces and though it hurts to say, I am not ready to deliver the kind of performance that you and the music deserve,” he added. But that didn’t stop him from trying to add the maximum good to the world, assuring his fans that he was “not alone because I have all of you supporting me” and imploring them to “spread as much positivity and love as you can.”
When asked by a reporter for a local ABC news affiliate if he would change anything about what he’d done, Blaine’s response was simple. “No because when I think about it, no one else came to help. She would have died, so no. This is a small price to pay for somebody else’ life.”
Blaine’s friends and family began a GoFundMe to try and cover his $9,000 worth of medical bills. But in a matter of days, his story went viral and they closed the donations after the incoming money shot up to over $53,000. “The outpour of love and support from everyone has been absolutely overwhelming,” he said.