OGDEN -- Adam McBride walked into Shopko on Saturday afternoon to buy some teeth whiteners, most likely nervous to see the pretty girl he met while working at Lagoon over the summer. The 15-year-old was going on a hike with her and some friends and planned to ask her to the homecoming dance at T.H. Bell Middle School once they got to the top of Adams Falls in Layton, McBride's stepfather Shawn Clement said.
He told his friends to give them a few minutes alone so he could politely pop the question. Adam felt on top of the world when she said yes.
The boy, who, friends and family say, had a heart as big as his smile, didn't come down from the canyon after an accident that ended in tragedy.
When it was time to start the hike down, Adam went first to find a safe path down the side of the falls.
He lost his footing and fell about 50 feet, taking severe injuries to his upper body and head. As his friends shouted for help, other hikers came to his aid, Clement said. One of them was a woman who said she was a physician's assistant and had medical training. She gave Adam CPR while they waited for paramedics to arrive.
He was then airlifted by helicopter and taken to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City. His family is still trying to find out the identity of the woman to personally thank her for what she did, Clement said.
Adam was an outdoorsman through and through, Clement said. The two of them would go camping, fishing and hiking whenever they could.
"On our last camping trip, we were riding on four-wheelers. I was on the back, while he was steering. We were in the back of a group of people," Clement said. "When we stopped and I took off my helmet, he just looked at me and laughed. He had gone out of his way to hit every mud puddle, and we were both just covered."
When Adam got his learner's permit to drive, he was given an old truck that was a fix-it-up job. He got the job at Lagoon to buy parts for the truck and to save up for his own four-wheeler, so he could go up to the mountains whenever he wanted, Clement said.
Like many teenage boys, Adam was more interested in cars and hanging out with friends than homework, although he did have an idea of what he wanted for his future.
"For as long as we can remember, he wanted to be in the military," Clement said. "All he wanted to do was help people."
Adam had an interest in the Special Services and wanted to enroll in the ROTC when he turned 16.
The night he fell, the entire family went to the emergency room.
"It was the worst night any of us have had," Clement said.
Adam died Sunday morning from his traumatic injuries.
After the family came home the next day at 4 a.m., several of Adam's friends were there in the driveway waiting for them.
"They all came to grieve with us," Clement said. "They come everyday after school. We're all just trying to get through this together."
This week Adam's friends created T-shirts with the phrase "Smile on, Adam," referring to the big smile he wore wherever he went.
A Facebook page was posted, where friends and family can support each other by posting memories and stories about Adam.
There is also an account in Adam's name at Wells Fargo Bank for anyone wishing to donate to the family. With the proceeds they will fund the training of a new search and rescue dog in his name.
"He loved dogs. He would come in once a week asking for another dog," Clement said.
Adam's loved ones knew him as the kid with a big heart who would never hesitate to drive his mom around for errands, go out of his way to help out a friend or spend the day laughing and smiling with his family.
On Tuesday a group of Adam's loved ones returned to Adams Falls with a cross that bore a picture of Adam. Clement said:
"Hopefully it will serve as a reminder to help prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to any other family."
Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Andreas.