MADISON COUNTY, Ga. – The Good Samaritan who helped a young child who nearly wandered onto a busy highway is overwhelmed by the attention he's received.
Bryant Collins was stunned to see 15-month-old Emily Pickens crawling near Highway 72 last Friday. He stayed with the baby for two hours until authorities arrived, playing gospel music to calm the child down.
Since the story aired on 11Alive Monday night, it's reached more than 30 million people on our Facebook page,and Bryant's actions have received more than 600,000 likes. Other media outlets have picked up on the story, including People and NBC Nightly News.
When reached at a barbershop on Tuesday night, Collins said his new-found fame has been "wild."
"A lot of people thanked me – a lot of people," Collins said. "Everybody is proud – my mother, wife, sisters, brothers, my friends at the barbershop."
Collins has received attention before, but for the wrong reasons. He said that he served 10 years in a federal institution for manufacturing cocaine. He says he's been clean and free for five years, and devoted to turning his life around.
The attention for his good deeds is far better than the bad.
"It's really no comparison," Collins said. "I've got children…the baby could have easily been run over – easily. That's what's important: the baby got saved."
THE PARENTS SPEAK: The baby's parents talk to 11Alive
Collins said that he hopes his story can inspire others.
"No matter how bad your situation has been – because most of these people that know me know that I've had some bad situations – that if you just keep trying, keep trying and make a serious effort to want to be changed, with God's help, you can be changed," Collins said.
Collins will be appearing 11Alive News Today on Wednesday morning. Leave him a message of thanks or encouragement here.
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