LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (WNYT/NBC News) — An Albany, New York man says his prayer for help was answered in an unexpected way when he recently capsized his kayak on Lake George, New York.
Jimmy MacDonald says he drifted away from his wife and stepkids because he was taking pictures with his new smartphone “and not really paying attention.”
As he tried to make his way back, the water got choppier and he paddled harder before he tipped over and lost his paddle.
He was in about 30 feet of water, his ill-fitting life jacket coming up over his head, and he was holding onto the kayak with one hand and his new $1,400 smartphone with the other.
He says people – other kayakers and canoeists – were passing by in the distance, but the former amateur boxer’s pride wouldn’t let him scream for help.
So for several exhausting minutes he kept trying to right the kayak.
“That’s when I said, ‘All right, I think I might die today. I think this might be it.’ I prayed to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for help.”
That’s when he spotted a floating Tiki bar approaching.
Greg Barrett captains a Tiki Tours boat. One of his passengers heard the call for help and notified him.
The passengers and a deckhand were able to pull MacDonald from the water.
The passengers were not the usual Tiki bar crowd. They were a group of priests and seminarians on retreat at the lake.
They have no doubt a higher power played a role in saving MacDonald.
“We’re missionaries,” said Chris Malano, a seminarian. “For us, that day, that was our mission to be present and to help someone in need.”