LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) – As high school junior Victoria Bravo was heading into school on Tuesday morning, she noticed some unusual activity not far from the parking lot at Layton High School.
“Down the road, I saw cop cars, an ambulance, a bunch of lights flashing,” she recalls to ABC4.com. “I didn’t know what happened, I was pretty confused.”
It wasn’t long before Bravo and the rest of her classmates learned the reason for the emergency vehicles gathering on the scene; a student had been hit not just once, but twice, by two separate cars on her way to school.
Bravo says “it was horrible to find out that someone had just gotten hit.” She remembers it being particularly dark and a bit rainy on her way into class. She had to turn on her brights a couple of times just to be able to see clearly.
“It was definitely hard to see,” Bravo states, echoing remarks made by Layton Police, that poor visibility was the primary factor when the student was hit by one car, then pinned under another while the driver of the first vehicle was attempting to help her.
ABC4.com has since learned that the student suffered a bevy of injuries including broken ribs, three breaks to one leg, a broken arm, a broken pelvis, and a broken hip. After being taken to the hospital in “very serious” condition on Tuesday, she is expected to survive but undoubtedly will endure months of recovery and physical therapy.
Despite not knowing the injured student, Bravo says she’s in a lower grade than her, she felt a tremendous amount of empathy for her classmate.
“My heart felt for her and her family,” she says.
Feeling an impulse to help, Bravo went online and created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the student and her family to help with any medical bills or additional financial challenges that may arise from the accident.
Why would she do that for someone she’s never met or crossed paths with?
It’s simple, Bravo says.
“I just felt like it was the right thing to do,” she explains. “I wanted to raise awareness about safety around our school and help other people.”
As someone who also suffered an injury and needed surgery on her hips, Bravo felt an extra measure of sympathy for her classmate.
“It was kind of like, ‘oh man, she’s going through the same thing,’” she says of learning the extent of the 15-year-old’s injuries.
Her plan is to reach out to her classmate and provide a helping hand, giving her pointers and encouragement when she enters physical therapy. A meaningful connection seems imminent.
While Bravo was excited and happy to see the response of many when she posted the GoFundMe on her soon-to-be friend’s behalf, there was some unexpected vitriol that caught her off guard. Some of her social media connections felt she was out of place to start a GoFundMe for someone she didn’t know. Some assumed she was up to something far more sinister, such as hoarding the donations for herself. Such accusations left in her Facebook comments were very hurtful to Bravo.
“It was very hard for me when I saw people saying like all those mean things,” she shares. “I was like, I know I’m doing the right thing. But at the same time, I’ve never really experienced people being mean that directly.”
Wanting to clarify her true intentions, Bravo and her mother, Paola Tobar Nunez, worked with Layton High administrators to combine their efforts with a similar GoFundMe that the injured student’s grandmother set up on Thursday. A spokesperson from GoFundMe has also confirmed to ABC4.com that the donations Bravo’s campaign receives will be given directly to the injured student’s family.
Tobar Nunez is proud of her child’s thoughtfulness and ability to feel for others. It’s pretty typical behavior for Bravo, she explains.
“She’s super sweet and helpful,” Tobar Nunez boasts of her daughter. “She likes to be there for her family members and friends. She is just like that. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
While speaking to ABC4.com about her efforts to help a stranger in need, Bravo and Tobar Nunez both have made it clear, they want the focus to be on helping her classmate.
“I just want people to keep sharing the link and donate and share [name redacted]’s story with everybody,” Bravo says. “I think that we all need to just get in there and donate as much as we can for [name redacted] and her family.”
Bravo says she hopes people can gain a bit more empathy for those around them as a result of her actions.
“It doesn’t matter if you know the person or not,” she states. “We just need to care for other people.”
Bravo’s GoFundMe on behalf of her classmate can be found here. The campaign established by the student’s grandmother is found here. Donations from both campaigns will be sent to the same family in cooperation with each other.
ABC4.com does not take any responsibility for any online donations chosen to be made by readers and advises anyone interested to do so at their own risk.