The 28-year-old man died after being struck by lightning Thursday night at Crossroads Plaza in Cary was from Angier and worked for East Coast Towing.
Authorities said Steven Bryan was in the parking lot of the Michael’s Arts and Crafts store when he was hit. The call came in at 8:18 p.m., authorities said.
“He was there to protect his girlfriend, make sure she was alright in bad weather, like any man would, protecting his family,” said his best friend, Sam Harvey.
Harvey lives in the apartment next to Bryan’s.
“Steve was a very outstanding guy,” Harvey said. “Very down to earth. He was always on me like a dad or a big brother. He was a very bright guy – never mad, always willing to learn. It’s very sad to lose him.”
No one was with Bryan at the time as authorities said he was waiting on a friend.
Bryan worked at East Coast Towing, where Mickey Wyatt said he was widely respected.
“You would hear his name come up regularly,” Wyatt said. “People saying, ‘He’s my hero, he helped us out, he made sure my family was safe, he looked out for us, he went the extra mile, he followed me home.’ Just anything and everything.”
“We here at East Coast Towing have lost a part of our family,” East Coast Towing said on its Facebook page. “Steve Bryan passed away last night after being struck by lighting in the storms that passed through. He was going to meet his family to be sure they were safe and going to get home safe in the weather. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Bryan’s family said he was an organ donor and he still will be helping others, even in death.
Thursday’s scene was a horrifying one, as several people called 911 to say they saw him in the parking lot.
“Please! He’s laying out there and not responsive,” said one caller. “We just saw lightning and he’s laying in the parking lot.”
The caller started crying and sobbing, “Oh my god. “
“I think he’s dead,” she said.
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