Call it coincidence, serendipity or divine intervention, Maira Khan's alive today thanks to a stranger's last-minute change of plans.
Swept out to sea, non-swimmer Khan was rescued by a pro surfer who wasn't supposed to be there.
"The fact that a pro surfer came and saved my life? It's a miracle."
James Pribram is a pro surfer. He was supposed to be in Canada that day, but an injured family member had him in California earlier than expected.
While standing on the balcony of his parents' Laguna Beach home, Pribram saw Khan climbing on the rocks below when a 6-foot-wave knocked her off-balance.
The waves battered her body against the rocks, sweeping her out to sea.
Pribram saw the distressed woman. He called for his mother, told her to call 911, and ran toward Khan.
In the very waters where he learned to surf, Pribram pulled a scraped and bleeding Khan from the water.
He handed her over to the care of paramedics and quietly left without introduction. Only after a lifeguard told Khan her rescuer's name did Khan discover that her good Samaritan was a professional surfer with an already heroic reputation.
Dubbed "The Eco Warrior" by one journalist, Pribram was named Laguna Beach's 2011 Athlete of the Year for his work teaching school kids to care for their ocean.
Khan told the Orange County Register, "I feel like he was sent from God to see me at that moment and save my life."
Khan has since reunited with her hero; she accepted his offer of swimming lessons.