One moment, he was taking her picture.
But in the blink of an eye, David Anderson noticed his two-year old daughter Bridget wasn't where he'd last looked. She was 15 to 20 feet below, about to drown in the East River.
"I guess instinct took over and i said look over the side of the railing," said Anderson, in his first interview, with NBC's The Today Show.
"And I looked over and there she was. This is the tough part. And she was laying on her back, eyes wide open laying in the water, looking up at me. And the terror in her eyes."
But the terror turned into tears of joy. As father rescued daughter. A videographer was nearby, and in the age of Twitter, within a short while, it seemed as though the whole world has seen the rescue.
Daniela Ullman, visiting from France, said the happy result is heartwarming. "He saved her, that's the important part. She's going to be ok."
And Chiniqua Davis of Far Rockaway, walking along the Seaport with her boyfriend, said it was hard to shake what could have been a sad story. "Something else could have happened, you know? What if he didn't jump in? Her life would have been lost."
Anderson, who divides his time between California and Brooklyn, made sure that wasn't the case.