Family thankful for help from stranger 

Members of a San Mateo family who helped others in need say a stranger returned the favor after their patriarch injured himself — and they’d like to thank their anonymous benefactor.

Marisol Richardson, 39, said she drove her 73-year-old father, Alfredo Pacheco, to the curb outside the Bank of America at Laurelwood Shopping Center at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 17.

Richardson said Pacheco exited the car, took two steps and fell to the ground, injuring his face so badly she could barely recognize him.

Richardson said she ran into the bank and called for help. When she got back to her father, she said, a stranger had rushed to his side. The man turned Pacheco onto his back and held his hand until paramedics arrived.

"It could have saved his life," San Mateo fire Captain Larry Batti said. "Sometimes just somebody being there in control like he was could make a huge difference."

Pacheco survived with a fractured eye socket and a broken nose, but in the commotion, Richardson was unable to thank the man who helped her father. She described him as a slender Asian man in his early 30s who stood about 5 feet 7 inches, and wore jeans and a hooded sweatshirt.

After Hurricane Katrina, Marisol’s son Ryan began Operation Ryan’s Hope by boxing up his old toys for flood victims. He was later honored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after he led a Bay Area-wide effort to ship 252,000 pounds of supplies to families affected by the storms.

Ryan Richardson, who is now 10, said he just wants to find the stranger and tell him, "Thank you so much for helping my grandfather."

The Richardsons would like to hear from anyone who has information on this stranger. They have asked to be contacted via e-mail at marisol.richardson@yahoo.com.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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