A 12-year-old good samaritan rescued an Oklahoma toddler who was left alone in a locked, hot car on a summer day.
According to Fox News, Ben Theriot was hailed a hero by Tulsa police on Tuesday after he broke into the car with a ratchet strap and pulled the 2-year-old boy to safety. Police say the heat index inside the car was 116 degrees.
“Within minutes, that child could have passed out and became ill from a heat injury. Time was of the essence in that situation,” Officer Jeanne Pierce told News on 6. “We’d rather have a broken windshield than a child death. Any individual wouldn’t be in trouble with us in that situation because they saved the life of that child.”
Theriot was on the way to buy shoes with his mom Nikki Fields when he heard the screams of the toddler coming from the backseat of a nearby vehicle in the parking lot. As Fields got on the phone for help, Theriot retrieved a ratchet strap in his mom’s car to save the child.
“I started hitting the side window, didn’t bust, bent it pretty badly,” he told Fox-23.
An employee from a nearby store brought out a part of a clothing rack, which he used on the car’s front windshield before crawling inside to unlock the car.
“I swung it over my shoulder, hit it right in the center,” Theirot recalled. “And then I hit it a couple more times and then I climbed on the windshield. I stomped on it and then it cracked pretty badly again. Then, the lady went and grabbed that hanger thing and then I put the hook into the windshield and pulled it out. And then I unlocked it.”
Authorities soon arrived on the scene and discovered the toddler to be red-faced and upset but he did not have to go to the hospital. The baby boy’s mother was found shopping at ROSS and issued a $250 ticket in accordance with the Forget Me Not Vehicle Safety Act, News on 6 reported. Police did not arrest the mother because the baby was not hurt and there was not a strong enough case for child neglect. She told police that another adult was supposed to be in the car when she went inside the store.
As for Fields, she is one proud mama. “I’m just very proud of him,” she told Fox-23. “I’m glad he knew what to do.”
“I didn’t think any of this was going to happen,” Theriot told the station. “I thought I was just going to go to ROSS and just buy some shoes or something.”