LOS ANGELES - Dustan Jackson and his wife were waiting for their flight home after the perfect vacation in Cancun. With hours to spare, Jackson hopped in a cab to head to a store to get chewing tobacco, but the nearby gas station didn't have any. That's when he said his taxi driver kidnaped him.
"I'll never forget that feeling," Jackson said. "It was the scariest feeling in the entire world."
Jackson said that the driver told him he knew a place where they could go, a grocery store. But that's when things got much worse.
"I get out, and I'm like ‘Ok,’ and then as I'm walking in it's boom, lights out and the next thing I know I'm waking up in a ditch," he said.
Jackson said he was attacked by a group of men armed with a machete. They used the machete to cut up his foot. "They went to cut my Achilles tendon, and they missed and instead of hitting it, they hit the bottom of my foot and then my foot just flapped around," Jackson said. "They were trying to cut all my tendons and leave me for dead."
He was left in the dark in the middle of nowhere. Jackson, who doesn't know Spanish, stumbled around for hours screaming for help. At one point he said even the cops turned him away, before he said he crawled under a tarp to die.
"I don't know what kind of power it is when they talk about the mental strength that you have as a human being, because at this point however long I was laying there, pretty much just waiting to die, something inside of me, that strength came to me and said ‘You’ve got family, you've got kids. Get up,'" Jackson said.
Jackson did just that, eventually coming upon a female police officer who stopped to help him. She eventually got him back to the airport where he said he met another guardian angel. A woman from Africa whose flight was canceled offered to help him.
Jackson eventually had four surgeries to repair damage to his foot and his shoulder. He can no longer play catch with his daughter, or swing a golf club with his son, but he said he knows he miraculously survived for a reason.
"I take the little times in life, I don't take them for granted anymore," he said. "You just don't know what life is going to bring you so never give up. Keep going. Everybody has a purpose."