Angie Wisner, a mental health technician and mother of three, went to Thursday's protest in Dallas because she wanted to "come away with something for my kids."
Instead, she walked away with someone else's kid.
In the haze and fury of the ambush that left 12 Dallas law enforcement officers shot, five fatally, Wisner, 33, was approached by a boy.
"We kind of ran into each other," Wisner, 33, told NBC News. "We were running and he came up to me and said, 'Ma'am can I come with you because I lost my mama.' He was shaking, out of breath, he was scared. And I said of course."
The teenage boy, JaJuan, was at the rally with his mother, Shetamia Taylor, and her three other sons.
When the shots first rang out, Taylor got separated from all but one of her children, her 15-year-old, and threw herself on top of him to protect the teen, Taylor's sister said.
"It was a panic," Taylor's sister, Theresa Williams, told MSNBC Friday. Taylor was shot in the leg and was still hospitalized Friday night. Taylor saw her oldest son grab the youngest and make it to a garage, Williams said.
But JaJuan was missing.
Wisner and JaJuan clung to each other for about 30 minutes trying to evade death and injury by running all over the downtown area, attempting to find shelter.
"We started running back towards my truck, it was by where the shooting started," she said. "Police officers kept turning us around because they were still shooting, so we kept running."
Finally another stranger allowed them to take cover in an apartment.
"We did not know his mama was shot ... He kept calling but she wasn't answering," she said. "The cousin finally came and got him after about an hour and a half."
Wisner, who does not know Taylor, said she was heartbroken to learn JaJuan's mother had been wounded.
"I just helped that baby and it really hurt my heart when I heard about it."
Wisner is still happy that she went to the protest, which for her, was not an expression of the hate that ruined so many lives Thursday. The protest was held amid outrage over recent fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
"I'm really thankful," she said matter-of-factly. "Because the protest was not about that... It's not about black and white, it was about everybody having the right to free speech and a right to live without being killed. Even cops."