Since launching last year, Pokemon Go has been involved in it share of unfortunate news stories – distracted drivers, robberies, and even murders have been linked to the game. Thankfully, this isn’t one of those stories. While it certainly has a dark edge, this is ultimately a story a real-life heroism.
Last year, several people, including Griffin Annett, Nicola Scott-Federow, and Crystal and Brett Lambert were playing Pokemon Go at a park in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Suddenly, the group of fledgling Poke trainers heard a piercing scream. Annett and Scott-Federow were the first to respond, and discovered a man attempting to sexually assault a woman in a nearby stand of trees. Annett sprang into action…
“My immediate reaction was to throw the man off and to get this girl the proper help she needed.”
Annett and Scott-Federow pulled the attacker off his victim, preventing a more serious assault, and then gave chase as the man ran off (he escaped, unfortunately). As this was happening, Crystal Lambert arrived and comforted the victim, later driving her to the hospital and back to her house. Lambert gives some credit to Pokemon Go to having gathered that many people at the park that night, as the victim’s cries for help may not have been heard otherwise.
"People have their ideas about Pokemon Go but I have to say, on that day, for this incident, it was amazing what it did. It's been a blessing. I absolutely adore and love this woman. Our paths crossed in such a hard way but we were meant to know each other. I will forever hold her dear and I will protect her forever."
For their role in preventing the assault, Griffin Annett, Nicola Scott-Federow, and Crystal Lambert recently received Citizens Awards from the Edmonton Police Commission. Detective Marci Koshowski commended the three for their decisive action.
“It’s very heroic. You’re [running toward] screaming in a forested area – you have no idea if there’s someone in there with a weapon. I thought it was very brave.”
For Annett, the award is humbling, and somewhat bittersweet.
“My entire life, I’ve been the kind of person who has flown under the radar. To be publicly noticed for something this big, it was an eye-opener, but it’s also a humbling experience. A lot of the times, screams go unheard.”