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Man stops speeding hockey puck from hitting 4-year-old


Asia Davis needed to find a hero, so she did what many do in this day and age: She turned to the internet.

Her mission: reunite with the man who put his body on the line to protect her son this past Thursday at a Cleveland Monsters hockey game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

As seconds ticked away toward the end of the third period of the American Hockey League game, the intensity on the ice grew, Davis recalled. Sitting next to her was her friend, Makaila Smith, who began recording some of the scramble between the players.

In a case of being at the right place at the right time, Smith was recording as a rogue puck struck from the ice soared into the stands, heading straight toward Davis and her 4-year-old, Nasir.

“I don’t think I looked up until the puck was, like, already like past the glass and past the audience. And next thing I know, it was just screaming and I looked over and he kind of had his hand up in front of my son,” Davis recalled of the man who shielded Nasir.

That man was 28-year-old Andrew Podolak. Podolak, a complete stranger to the trio, didn’t hesitate to move into harm’s way to block the puck.

“I don’t even want to think about what would have happened,” Davis said. “Best-case scenario, [Nasir] would have gone to the hospital.”

Davis said the “really, really close call” was one of “divine intervention.”

The group snapped a few photos to remember the moment, but once the game ended, they went their separate ways not having exchanged contact information. Her adrenaline racing and her head pounding, Davis said she was ready to leave the arena as soon as possible.

Nasir takes a selfie with Podolak at the game on April 11.
Nasir takes a selfie with Podolak at the game on April 11.Courtesy Asia Davis

However, she felt that may have been a disservice to Podolak, and she began making calls to the arena to try and track down the man whom she felt she owed more to for being so selfless.

 That’s when she turned to TikTok.

In a video now viewed more than 1.7 million times since it was posted overnight on Saturday, Davis shared the clip and put out a call to track down Podolak.

“He was like, ‘I was meant to be here,’” Davis said in the post, recalling their exchange. “And he was. You cannot tell me God is not real,” she went on to say.

A few hours later that morning, Podolak had sent her a message after the video and plea circulated to his phone.

Podolak said his first instinct was to “just jump in front” of the speeding puck. He recalled reaching his hand over at just the right time to make the block.

“It was a crazy experience,” he said. Crazier still, Podolak said that for this particular game, he happened to be seated in section 107, row 7 and seat 7.

Seven, Davis said, is her lucky number. “You were meant to be there,” she told Podolak during an interview with NBC News.

Now connected and on a first-name basis, the two feel the moment has sparked the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.

The Cleveland Monsters also took note, sharing the trio’s photo on their official X page with the caption, “WE FOUND THEM!” as well as treating them to tickets to Saturday’s game, where Nasir did the honors of dropping the puck ahead of the start of the match.

In their first interview together with NBC News, Davis wanted to let her newfound friend know just how grateful she was.

“You’re a really special person and I just hope that you never go a day in your life without knowing that,” an emotional Davis told Podolak.

“Everything happened for a reason, right?” Podolak replied.


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