Lonnie Chavis has stolen the hearts of TV viewers everywhere with his performance as young Randall on This Is Us, but his breakout role almost didn’t happen. Nearly four months before the series premiered, the 9-year-old actor narrowly escaped a kidnapping in Long Beach, NY. While taking the trash out near his home, Lonnie said he was approached by two men wearing gloves and masks who tried to grab him. “They pushed me on the ground, and the one that pushed me on the ground said, ‘Stay down,’ and the other one said, ‘Get up,'” he told ABC7 Eyewitness News at the time.
After getting to his feet and running away, he was found by a neighbor, Diana Hershey, who lived almost half a mile away. “I was in the garden doing some gardening and I heard the sound of a child sobbing coming from up the street,” she said. “Then he started running toward me just sobbing and looking like he was ready to fall down.” Lonnie’s parents had already called the police after becoming worried when they couldn’t find him, and Diana brought him back home shortly after. Police determined the incident was an attempted kidnapping, and no suspects have been arrested for the crime.
Image Source: Getty / Emma McIntyre