(CNN) -- Some may call it chance, but Victor Perez believes a higher power was involved Tuesday when he chased after a vehicle suspected of carrying an abducted young girl in Fresno, California.
A construction carpenter by trade until work slowed down, Perez has been recently cutting wine grapes, earning minimum wage.
Early Tuesday, there was a light rain, making that task unlikely.
Perez, 29, tuned in to television news coverage of the abduction, paying attention to the description and video of the suspect's pickup truck.
At about 6:45 a.m., Perez was outside talking with his cousin about the abduction when they saw a vehicle matching that description: an older-model, reddish-brown Chevrolet with a white stripe on the side.
"I thought, that could be the truck," Perez, a father of two boys, told CNN Tuesday night.
That's when he sprang into action. He jumped into his 1988 white Ford pickup and followed the vehicle.
Perez tried to cut off the vehicle several times to question the driver. One time, the driver told him, "I don't have no time [to talk]. My battery is dying."
The second time Perez pulled up to the Chevy, he saw the little girl, her head popping up from below view, and knew something was wrong.
"I kept telling him, 'That's not your little girl,'" said Perez. "We argued. We exchanged words."
"He [Perez] realized right then and there he had the suspect vehicle," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters.
Perez -- who admitted he did wonder at some point whether the motorist had a gun -- pulled up to the truck a third, and then a fourth time, when he blocked the pickup truck.
At that point, the police chief said, the young girl "took the moment of opportunity, opened up the passenger door, and jumped out and ran."
Perez said he believes the driver pushed her out.
"I was beyond scared," he said.
Perez was out of his vehicle and stayed with the girl. He yelled for residents to get her a blanket. The frightened victim was wearing a Winnie the Pooh sweater, he said.
The Chevy drove off. By then, Perez had a partial license plate number, which he gave to dispatchers, the chief said.
Police about 40 minutes later caught up with the truck, now parked, and arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno. Charges against him will include kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault, Dyer said. The suspect was not armed.
Police, officials and the parents of the girl praised Perez and other good Samaritans and citizens who aided the search and took action to find the girl.
The incident was beginning to sink in Tuesday night, Perez said. "I probably saved a little girl's life."
The question arises: What would have happened if Perez had gone to work this day?
He quoted a relative who said divine providence might have stepped in.
"God works in mysterious ways," Perez said.