Surprise reunion first responders ad touches hearts: ‘I believe you guys are angels’

An emotional commercial airing during Sunday’s Super Bowl game paid tribute to first responders and one man who was thankful to be alive because of them.

In a 60-second Verizon ad which aired during the third quarter, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was reunited with the first responders who helped save his life after he was hit by a car more than a decade ago.

“Hi, my name is Anthony Lynn. In 2005 I was in a horrible car accident. I was hit by a car going 50 miles an hour,” the 50-year-old told a group of first responders gathered at a firehouse, not knowing his heroes were among them.

“And I promise you, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the first responders. They told me that I flew 45, 50 feet in the air,” he went on. “The doctor told me, he said, ‘You’re very— you’re very lucky, it was a miracle.'”

Unbeknownst to Lynn, he was about to be “emotionally ambushed,” as he told USA Today.

Lynn, an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys at the time the speeding car manned by a drunk driver hit him, underwent several surgeries for facial and shoulder damage as well as collapsed lungs and broken ribs suffered when he was thrown 40-50 feet into a parked car which was totaled.

In the Verizon commercial, as Lynn finished telling the men and women gathered what had happened to him, the ones who had been the first to arrive that night stepped up to introduce themselves.

“Hi, Coach, my name is Jim Brittle. This is my partner, Craig Kelly. We’re the first two first responders on scene,” one said.

“Coach, my name is Skyla Bosco. I was the paramedic on Medic Engine One that evening,” another said as the coach became emotional.

“I’ve often thought about, you know, who showed up that night,” he told them. “I never thought I’d see you. I mean, that’s— that’s unbelievable. They said I had to have some angels with me that night to survive. I believe you guys are angels. Thank you, guys. Thank you.”

“It was an emotional reunion,” Lynn told USA Today in December when the video was shot. “I had tears, and they were fighting tears. We were hugging and they were shocked to find out I was coach of the Los Angeles Chargers now.”

Bosco admitted the moment was an emotional one for her, too, as she – like her colleagues – often wonders what becomes of the people they have tended to.

“I am not an emotional person but that almost got me crying,” she said. “It was awesome. Here’s this guy who no one who was there thought would live or walk again and he became this really famous person.”

“Coach Lynn had no idea that he was going to reunite with us,” Ventura, California firefighter, David Mendoza, told People. “Seeing the look on his face when he got to meet us was amazing.”

“I often don’t get the chance to meet the people I’ve helped,” Mendoza added. “It was so great to talk with him and see him doing so well, and to just give him a hug.”

Verizon’s ad, which is part of a series of advertisements aimed at honoring first responders, stood out in stark contrast to its competitors, Sprint and T-Mobile. The spot, part of the campaign, “The Team Wouldn’t Be Here,” which features 12 NFL stars who were saved by first responders,  was directed by Peter Berg, the director of films such as “Lone Survivor” and “Patriots Day,” who also was highly praised for another Super Bowl ad about the NFL’s 100th season.

“There was a certain structure to the concept, but like so many of the stories I tell, I like to improvise. We wanted as authentic a moment as we could possibly get,” Berg explained the candid reunion.

“He was going to talk to them the way he talks to his football team, from the heart, about the heroic nature of a first responder,” Berg told USA Today of Lynn’s planned talk. “Literally, that was about all we had planned. We just had to make sure that if something special happened we wouldn’t miss it.”

And the special moment that was captured in the finished ad touched millions on Sunday and left Lynn even more grateful.

“Just to meet the people — my angels who saved me — is unbelievable,” Lynn said. “I’ve always wondered who they were. I always knew I was blessed to be here. And now I know my angels.”

Frieda Powers

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