The Pessah family has something particularly special to be thankful for this year. Their son, 21-year-old Benjamin Pessah from Burlingame, Calif., awoke from a month-long coma just in time to eat a Thanksgiving meal with his family after being shot in the head last month.
According to the New York Daily News, Pessah was walking home with his girlfriend and two other friends from a Halloween party in San Francisco on October 28 when a man -- Hun Saelee -- allegedly approached the group and touched Pessah's girlfriend inappropriately.
Clarissa Harper, 20, told the SF Examiner that Saelee tried to grab her chest. Pessah immediately rushed to defend his girlfriend.
That was when Saelee reportedly went to the trunk of his car, took out a .45-caliber handgun, and began shooting at the group. A bullet hit Pessah in the head when he and his friends attempted to take cover under a nearby car, according to SF Weekly.
“[He] attempted to shoot the group of four of them,” Nick Pessah, Benjamin Pessah's older brother, told the Daily News. “He missed everybody but the last bullet hit my brother in the head.”
Pessah was taken directly to San Francisco General Hospital. However, the situation was grim. Doctors told Pessah’s parents that he had only a 25 percent chance of surviving, reported ABC News.
“They weren’t going to operate because he was too severely injured,” Nick Pessah said. “Then they said they would attempt it but normally they wouldn’t. They only did because he is young and has a chance at surviving. They weren’t sure if he was going to make it or not.”
In a miraculous turn of events, Pessah did pull through, and just a few days before Thanksgiving doctors took out his breathing tube.
His first words? "Hi Mom."
The surprises didn't end there. On Thanksgiving Day, Pessah astonished his family by taking his first steps since the attack.
“It’s very amazing. It’s pretty rare,” Passah's nurse told the Daily News. “He’s a pretty good fighter, I think.”
"I was speechless. I didn't really know what to say, it was very unexpected," Nick Pessah added.
According to ABC News, Pessah cannot remember the attack, but the rest of his memory seems to be fully intact, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
“It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” Nick Passah said. “I have more than enough to be thankful for … He’s beaten all of his odds so I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving.”
According to SF Weekly, the San Francisco police were able to track down 30-year-old Hun Saelee and 26-year-old Judiana Lau -- who was in the getaway car at the time of the shooting -- to their San Lendro home a few hours after the attack.
Both were arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide.