In 2007, deep in the Arizona wilderness, at the end of Thanksgiving Day, a young boy named Chris Buchleitner found himself holding a broken mirror. The mirror had cracked when his mother’s van went careening off the road and into a steep hill, with his mother trapped down in the canyon. The van’s mirror had shattered as a result and Chris used it to try and signal for help from a nearby Border Patrol helicopter.
At the same time, a man named Manuel Cordova, who had crossed the border illegally from Mexico in search of opportunities, approached the stranded boy. He faced a difficult decision: he could continue on his journey and evade Border Patrol, or he could stay and help the stranded boy and his mother. Manuel’s decision would have a lasting impact and later become a topic of debate about illegal immigration.
Their meeting was a result of a tragic camping trip with Chris’s mother, Dawn Tomko, who had lost control of the van, causing it to tip and crash down the hill. Despite the ordeal, Chris gathered his wits, supplies, and his pet dog, Tanner, before venturing out in search of help. It was then that he came across Manuel, who was willing to assist despite the language barrier between them.
Meanwhile, Manuel had left his hometown in Mexico to seek better opportunities near the Arizona border, struggling to support his family with limited employment options back home. He had undergone great lengths to evade authorities during his journey, only to find himself face-to-face with a dire situation.
For the stranded mother and son, and the man seeking a better life, the chance encounter on the deserted road marked a significant moment that would alter all of their lives.