A story about a heroic 6-year-old from Wyoming has gone viral, attracting attention from millions of people including celebrities. The boy, Bridger, saved his littler sister from a gruesome dog attack, according to Nikki Walker, who says she is his aunt and shared the story on Instagram.
Walker said she shared the story "so that it gets as much exposure as it can."
"We know that our little hero would love some words of encouragement from his favorite heroes," Walker wrote in a post on Monday. "On July 9th, my six year old nephew Bridger saved his little sister's life by standing between her and a charging dog. After getting bit several times on the face and head, he grabbed his sister's hand and ran with her to keep her safe."
"He later said, 'If someone had to die, I thought it should be me,'" Walker's post continued. "After receiving 90 stitches (give or take) from a skilled plastic surgeon, he's finally resting at home. We love our brave boy and want all the other superheroes to know about this latest hero who joined their ranks."
Walker shared photos of Bridger and his little sister before the attack – as well as heart-wrenching photos of his facial injuries after it. The boy's face appears cut from his lip up his cheek and is covered in stitches. It is also swollen and bruised.
She tagged actors who star in superhero movies: Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Vin Diesel (Groot), and Chris Evans (Captain America).
Some of the on-screen heroes – and many others – responded to Walker's post, praising Bridger's heroism.
"People who put well beings of others in front of themselves are the most heroic and thoughtful people I know," Mark Ruffalo commented. "I truly respect and admire your courage and your heart."
Chris Evans sent Bridger a video message. "This is a message for Bridger. Hey Bridger, Captain America here. How you doing, buddy?" the actor said in a video, which Walker posted on Instagram alongside a video of Bridger's reaction on Wednesday.
"I'm sure you've heard a lot of this over the last couple of days, but let me be the next one to tell you, pal, you're a hero," Evans said. "What you did was so brave, so selfless. Your sister is so lucky to have you as a big brother. Your parents must be so proud of you."
In the video, Evans said he will send the superhero fan an authentic Captain America shield. "Keep being the man you are, we need people like you," the actor said.
Other on-screen heroes commented. Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, wrote to Walker that she was direct messaging her. Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye in the Avengers, called Bridger "the first Avenger." "What fortitude and heart," Renner wrote.
Octavia Spencer, Gordon Ramsey, Kevin Jonas, Robbie Amell and others also commended Bridger, while the U.S. Navy and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) praised the boy's bravery.
After receiving over a million likes and thousands of comments, Walker added an update to the post's caption. "I just finished visiting with Bridger at his home. His wounds are looking so much better! He's in great spirits, and his awesome personality is intact," Walker wrote. "He can't smile too widely yet, but he was grinning as I read some of your comments to him.
In a second update to the post, Walker said she's received many inquiries about setting up a GoFundMe for the boy and his family. "Bridger's family has asked that any one wishing to help out financially can, instead, donate to @mission_22 or @wwp," she wrote. Mission 22 and WWP are both foundations for veterans and wounded U.S. soldiers.
"Bridger is also a huge fan of Science, especially Geology. So I'm going to start a post where people can share with him pictures of cool rocks that they see," Walker wrote. She also shared an address where people can send cool rocks as gifts for Bridger. The story continues to gain more and more attention.
Anne Hathaway, who has played a supervillain, Catwoman, posted about Bridger on her own Instagram, which made the story travel even wider. "I'm not an Avenger, but I know a superhero when I see one," she wrote in the caption. "I can only hope I'm half as brave in my life as you are in yours, Bridger. Wishing you an easeful recovery, and many cool looking rocks."