You’ve probably been there—you’re out in public when you come across something or someone, and your gut tells you something isn’t right.
You might have that little voice in the back of your head telling you to intervene. Or maybe it makes you question whether or not John Quinones is about to pop out and use your reaction on an episode of What Would You Do?
Whatever the case may be, when something feels “off,” it’s our instincts that we trust.
When he was just 17 years old, Malyk Bonnet listened to his gut and it wound up saving a woman’s life.
The Canadian teen was waiting for a bus home after work when he noticed an altercation spark between a couple on the corner.
“The guy was screaming at her, the girl,” Bonnet said. “He wasn’t really gentle with her, and I started watching, because I thought he would hit her, so I approached them a little bit.”
As he got closer, the couple asked the teen if he could spare some cash for their bus tickets to Laval—a city 25 miles away from downtown Montreal.
He agreed to help them out, but this quick-thinking teen took things a step further.
After getting a split-second alone with the woman, who Bonnet described as “terrified,” he lied and said he was also traveling to Laval and would accompany them.
“My plan was to keep them in a public place, where there’s a lot of people,” Bonnet said. “I decided to make myself friendly with the man, so he would trust me. So I played my game.”
As the trio made their way by bus and metro to Laval, Bonnet kept his cool and waited patiently for an opportunity to call the police. But by the time they arrived in the city, he hadn’t had a chance to separate himself from the couple, and his phone had died.
So instead of just letting them go, he offered to take the couple out for a bite to eat.
Bonnet gave the man $50 to buy food, while he excused himself to use the restroom. That’s when he borrowed a phone from someone in the restaurant, and called the police. Within minutes, Bonnet learned that his gut had been right all along.
Unbeknownst to him, the police had already been looking for that couple.
“We were looking for a 29-year-old woman who was kidnapped by her former boyfriend earlier that day, and we believed that man was very dangerous,” said Laval police Lt. Daniel Guérin.
The man had previously been found guilty of assault and death threats against his girlfriend last year, and was under court order to stay away from her.
Bonnet says that even after police showed up, his game of “making friends” with the alleged kidnapper was still working, as the man had no idea it was Bonnet who had called police.
Though he didn’t have the opportunity to speak with the woman after police arrived, Bonnet says he could sense her relief.
“We made eye contact and she had tears in her eyes. She was really happy, so happy not to be with him.”
This teen’s selfless act goes so much further than just listening to his gut. Not only did he save someone’s life, but his response brings attention to the seriousness of a hidden slavery that is domestic abuse.
From the outside, it’s easy to suggest resolve, or pass judgment on the woman for not leaving that boyfriend sooner. But anyone who has been in an abusive relationship will tell you, it’s just not that simple.
It’s time we all take note of the red flags and listen to our gut when it comes to helping others out. If we can learn one thing from Malyk Bonnet, it’s that trusting your instincts could wind up saving a life.
If you or someone you know is in a victim of domestic abuse, DON’T stay silent. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or chat online now with someone who will listen.