FARMINGTON — A woman whose job includes helping kids in need got some unexpected help of her own last Friday night.
Ruth Baldwin, an assistant public defender in Aztec, went mountain biking right after work with her colleagues - husband Keith and friends Ellen and Stephen Wayne - in the Farmington hills off Hood Mesa Drive.
A handful of hours later, Baldwin was riding in the dark to get help for Ellen Wayne who had badly hurt her arm in a fall along the Seven Sisters Trail.
When the accident happened, Baldwin's husband had returned to his car to get help. Over an hour later, he hadn't returned.
That's when Ruth decided to ride down the hilly trails to get some help.
Wayne waited with her husband in the cooling dusk, fearing her arm was broken.
Baldwin had no cell phone. Her bike had no working light. But she was determined to get help.
After several wrong turns and wary glances at the inky black sky, Ruth saw a truck pull over and heard the driver ask if she needed help.
In the truck were members of the Piedra Vista baseball team and friends — Wyatt Weaver, Tyler Williamson, Tyler Archuletta, Zach Ahlgrim, Tristan Dwinell, and Jamie Jones. At about 9:30 p.m. they saw Ruth on her mountain bike hurtling down Hood Mesa Trail, near College Drive.
Weaver, 16, recalled the odd sight of Baldwin riding in the dark without any light to help her see.
"We were just being teens on a Friday night, driving around and then we saw this lady on a bike barely visible in the dark," Weaver said. "We pulled over and asked her if she needed help, and she said she needed a phone. She was panicked, upset a little bit."
Archuletta, 16, handed his phone to Baldwin and turned the heater on in the cab of the truck and offered her a seat.
"I was so relieved to find somebody to help, I was so cold and lost - a bit out of it by that point," Baldwin said. "They were so sweet, refusing to leave. They kept me company talking about their baseball team at PV school and all kinds of things - TRON, mountain biking."
The teens stayed put with Baldwin for nearly an hour before her husband returned.
"They let me use their cell phones, kept me safe and stayed with me quite some time until help came," Baldwin recalled. "I was truly inspired with their Good Samaritan attitudes and cannot express how grateful I am that they were there that night."
Wayne's broken left arm was splinted at San Juan Regional Medical Center over the weekend and set in a cast Monday morning.
"The irony is that I didn't want to go since we had all planned to go for a lengthy ride that Saturday," she said. "It was fun until it wasn't fun anymore, obviously."
Although it likely will take six to eight weeks for her arm to heal, Wayne is relieved that she has her writing hand available. But mountain biking has dropped a bit on her list of things to do - at least on Fridays after work.
The teens see their act of kindness as nothing out of the ordinary.
"If we were in a similar situation, we'd hope someone would try to help," Weaver said. "It's always nice when you're having something happen like that to see a friendly face."
James Fenton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @FentonDT