"I heard the splash. Then I heard Karen hollering."
He ran back down to the docks at the Sunset Boating Center in Hampton. His friend Kevin Davis, a Hampton educator, had slipped, hit his head and disappeared into the waters at the marina.
"So I just jumped in, looked down in the bottom here, came up went back down went under the boat," says Small.
The visibility was poor, plus it was dark around 10:30 p.m., but Michael didn't give up and after his third time down, he saw his friend Kevin floating under the dock.
"He's a hero. He's a hero," says a thankful Kevin Davis who is an assistant principal at Hampton's Kecoughtan High School. He is now back at work and doing just fine.
"I happened to have this angel there with me that night and not once, not twice, but three times he went down into that dark water of Hampton Creek."
After spitting up a lot of water and regaining consciousness, Kevin didn't want to go to the hospital, telling his wife and friends not to call 911. It's a good thing they ignored him.
Karen Davis says when they got to the hospital and took an x-ray of her husband's chest, doctors could see his lungs were filled with water.
"We went to the hospital and they said, 'You need to get his family here.' The doctor told us that they didn't believe he was going to make it that night or the other two days he was on life support."
But after four days in the intensive care unit, all Kevin has to show of his brush with death is a little scar.
NewsChannel 3 presented his "guardian angel" with a People Taking Action award.
Our community partner Southern Bank donated a $100 Visa gift card for Small, a man who is not too comfortable being called a hero, but just ask Karen Davis.
"He is a humble man, but he saved my husband's life and for that. I will never forget that ever in my life," says Davis.