The Cook Who Chased and Caught a Kidnapper

This man's break from work became a race to save a little boy.

jesus delgado
courtesy KCBS/KCAL, Claire Benoist for Reader’s Digest

One February afternoon, Jesus Delgado was on break behind T2 Tacos, where he works as a line cook, when he heard a commotion. He ran to the front of the Los Angeles taco stand and saw a man and a woman arguing. She was screaming for help and had two young boys at her side. All of a sudden, the man punched her in the mouth, grabbed the smaller boy, and ran down the street.

“I followed my instincts and chased him,” Jesus, 35, told the Argonaut newspaper. The older boy ran in the other direction to get help. A group of teenagers who had witnessed the assault assisted the woman and called 911. She told them that she was the boys’ nanny.

Within a few blocks, Jesus caught up to the man, Andron Gazarov, 33. They grappled, and Jesus wrestled the young boy from Gazarov’s arms. Then Gazarov flung himself onto the sidewalk. “He was yelling at me that the kid didn’t belong to me. I was telling him the kid didn’t belong to him,” Jesus told the Argonaut.

Minutes later, Los Angeles police officers arrived and arrested Gazarov, who was charged with kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, and assault. He faces up to 12 years in prison, if convicted. The kids, Brendan O’Brien, six, and Grady O’Brien, four, were unharmed.

The next night, the boys’ father, Tom O’Brien, went to the taco stand to thank Jesus for his actions. He also started an online fund to help Jesus pay the medical expenses for his special-needs daughter. As of May, more than $27,500 had been raised.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest