I often speak about the need to pay attention to what’s happening around us. It’s amazing how we can become connected when we just take that extra moment to be aware or mindful of someone who is vulnerable—sometimes it can save a life.

A stunning example of this played out in Barrett, Minnesota the day after Labor Day when Earl Melchert, 65, sat in his pick-up near his home following a lunchtime trip from work to retrieve an item he had forgotten. As he was about to turn the key to start back to a fertilizer plant he managed, Earl looked across a field behind his house to see a dark object 300 yards away. As a hunter, Earl thought the object might be a deer; however, he soon realized it was a girl, who turned out to be 15-year-old Jasmine Block making her way toward him.

Horrifically, 29 days earlier, Jasmine had been kidnapped by three men and then held in a home nearby. In a stroke of luck, Jasmine escaped her captors; that escape included swimming across a lake and ending up in the field near Earl’s property.

Because Earl had seen missing person posters with Jasmine’s picture (another act of paying attention), he instantly knew who she was. He got Jasmine in his truck and after dialing 911, waited for deputies to arrive. As they waited, one of Jasmine’s adductors drove by looking for her. Fortunately, the man kept driving on.

Later, at a ceremony to give Earl a $7,000 reward for his role in rescuing Jasmine, Earl immediately turned over the reward check to Jasmine. “I was not interested in the $7,000 reward, it wasn’t a big deal,” Earl told the Minneapolis Star Tribune . “I wanted to give it to the family. They need it more. It went to a good place. I hope Jasmine is OK.”

Instead of the reward, Earl accepted an invitation to have dinner with Jasmine and her family.

One can only imagine the trauma that Jasmine suffered and of course our hearts go out to her. What this story shows is that the human heart is capable of opening with great breadth—which starts with paying attention—at a time when another human may need it most.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a Human Owner’s Manual to tell us what to do in times of uncertainty. All we have is each other.