As a reward for his bravery after saving his younger sister from being attacked by a dog, a six-year-old Wyoming boy has been gifted an authentic Captain America shield by the leader of Marvel‘s onscreen Avengers franchise himself.
Upon catching wind of Bridger Walker’s story — which went viral on Instagram last Saturday — Chris Evans, the beloved actor who plays Captain America in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), went out of his way to send a personal, heartfelt video message to the real-life American hero, commending him for his selflessness, before offering him the fictional superhero’s signature weapon.
“Pal, you’re a hero, what you did was so brave, so selfless,” Evans said in the one-minute message shared on July 15. “Your sister is so lucky to have you as a big brother. Your parents must be so proud of you.”
“I’m gonna track down your address and I’m going to send you an authentic Captain America shield, because pal, you deserve it,” Evans, 39, added.
Bridger’s aunt, Nicole Walker, took to Instagram on July 11, sharing his story, revealing that “he, himself, took on the attack so that the dog wouldn’t get his sister.”
While playing in a neighbours’ yard, Walker says a dog began “charging” at the four-year-old girl, before Bridger held her behind him and took the brunt of the attack himself. He was bitten on the head and face repeatedly and spent a night in hospital after receiving, “give or take,” 90 stitches from a plastic surgeon, according to Walker.
Bridger’s parents, Robert and Teila, captured their son’s response to Evans’ message over the weekend as he sat with his sister clad in a Captain America costume.
“Keep being the man you are. We need people like you,” Evans said later on in the video. “I know recovery might be tough, but based on what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s much that can slow you down.”
Seemingly taken aback by the video, a smiling Bridger said the video was “good,” upon being asked what he thought.
“I thought it was awesome,” said the hero’s little sister.
On Instagram, Nicole recounted that Bridger had said, “If someone was going to die, I thought it should be me,” after the incident.
As well as Evans, the proud aunt also reached out for responses from Avengers stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) and Vin Diesel (Groot).
Ruffalo, 52, took to the Instagram comments section commending Bridger for his efforts.
“People who put the well beings of others in front of themselves are the most heroic and thoughtful people I know,” wrote the star. “I truly respect and admire your courage and your heart.
“Real courage isn’t dominating people or fighting against people or walking around like a tough guy. Real courage is knowing what is right to do and doing it even when it might end up hurting you somehow.”
Brandon Davis, who helped coordinate Evans’ video, described the message as “one of the most fulfilling things, ever” via Twitter on Wednesday.