Nightly News | April 22, 2013
>>> we leave you tonight with a story from that awful moment a week ago today in boston . how the lives of two men specifically, a father from new hampshire, a student at a massachusetts college, intersected in a way neither man will ever forget. our anne thompson has the story tonight from boston .
>> reporter: ron brassard and rob wheeler were strangers a week ago.
>> look, he's trying to outfunny me.
>> reporter: terror made them fast friends. do you believe in fate?
>> i do now. i do today. you know, how can you not?
>> if you asked me monday morning i don't think i would have said yes, but absolutely.
>> reporter: it was 23-year-old rob wheeler who took the shirt off his back and wrapped it around 51-year-old ron brassard's severely injured leg.
>> when i looked down and saw what was happening there, at that moment i absolutely needed someone to help me. that someone was rob.
>> reporter: brassard stood near the finish line with his wife and daughter to cheer a friend. wheeler wasn't even supposed to run the race. a friend who couldn't make it gave the college senior his spot.
>> i hope i don't get banned from the boston marathon for this one.
>> reporter: fate slowed wheeler down. his knee locked up here along mile 16. he helped a woman who fell at mile 25, and he crossed the finish line just two minutes before the first bomb went off.
>> i didn't have a scratch on me. you don't think, can i help someone or shouldn't i? you're there, you do that.
>> reporter: his wife karen and daughter suffered shh is rap nel injuries. ron will keep his leg, but now the man who's always been the caretaker, needs care.
>> logically, i know there is too much pride. but it's been a difficult week for me. it's been a difficult week.
>> reporter: a radio station gave ron and his family red sox tickets for sunday's game. rob went in his place.
>> we are going to be on may 19 attending rob's graduation. we are part of each other's life now.
>> reporter: an unshakable bond forged by an act that shook the world. anne thompson , nbc news, boston .