Everyone knows that Cast Members work incredibly hard every day to make unforgettable memories for Disney Guests. From always having a smile on their face to answering any question you may have. However, there is one person who will forever remember one Cast Member for a very different. Ray Banales — a Cast Member at Disneyland Resort — was driving home from work one day when he witnessed a car accident. The accident happened right in front of him. Thankfully, Ray was quick to action. He ended up saving the driver moments before the damaged car burst into flames.
Disney Parks Blog shared more of Ray’s incredible story:
Ray Banales usually takes the same route home after his late-night custodial shifts at the Disneyland Resort. But on Sept. 16, 2021, his drive on the 5 Freeway took an unexpected turn. Ray spotted a car swerve out of control before coming to a stop in the middle of the freeway. His heart racing, Ray pulled over, turned on his hazard lights, exited his vehicle and made his way through traffic toward the vehicle.
“I was terrified, but I tried my best to get the driver to get out of the car while other cars almost hit us,” Ray said. “After he was finally able to get out, the car went up in flames.” Ray then called 911 and waited with the driver until authorities arrived, ultimately agreeing to go on camera for a media interview. “The following day, someone shared it with me, and then it kind of snowballed from there. Reception was very positive, and I had people sharing it with me all over social media.”
Word of Ray’s heroic actions quickly spread amongst his fellow Cast Members. When one of his leaders — Marybeth Miller — found out, she decided to nominate Ray for the Disney Heroes Award. The Heroes Award honors heroic acts performed by all members of the Disney community, from Cast Members to Imagineers and crew members.
Marybeth spoke to Disney Parks Blog about just how incredible Ray’s actions were:
“We have some of the most amazing human beings who have chosen to be cast members and they bring our focus on Safety to all aspects of their lives, allowing them to impact not just the guest and cast experience, but also the community experience in a positive way. Ray’s actions came from a place of genuine care and concern for humanity.”
Ray had no idea that he was even honored for the award — much less a winner — until he was surprised with a ceremony. His friends and family celebrated with him in a special ceremony on February 4.