Our region has been inundated by bad news related to the recent hurricane and flooding. Almost at the same time, people joined together in near-instant fundraising and assistance efforts to help our communities, our friends, our neighbors and even total strangers. [As a Proctors employee, I was proud of our organization’s involvement in efforts such as Project Hope and Capital Region Relief.]
What I did not realize is that without being told directly of these efforts, how quickly children and young people absorb media messages and adult conversation and want to act on them. A recent afternoon with my own grand children provided a proud lesson learned.
As I pulled into the Rotterdam Hannaford Plaza around 9:12 A.M., this past Sunday, my 5-year-old grandson, Dominic Lombardi, announced that someone was lying dead on the ground.
I kept driving, half-hearing him, but mostly concentrating on traffic.
He repeated himself loud and clear, "Gramma, someone is lying on the ground and I think they are dead". His cousins -- Brieana and Nick -- and I thought Dominic had quite the imagination until he said more urgently, "Gramma, if he's not dead he may be injured and need help". At that, I redirected the car.
"Well, we'll drive over and check it out," I told him as much to appease his urgency as well as my own curiosity and growing alarm.
As we drove I suggested that maybe what he saw were garbage bags in the grass waiting to be collected on Monday morning. But as we got closer this very sweet, sensitive little boy stood his ground insisting that it was a human being.
Then I saw a man's hand. I noticed that he had lifted his head – only to see it fall to the ground again. Stopping the car, I told the kids to stay inside. I trusted that they would do as they were told because they are awesome and well-mannered kids.
I ran up to the man and asked if he was okay. He responded, "No".
I asked if he needed an ambulance and he said, "Yes".
He told me that he had a heart condition and high blood pressure. His heart was beating out of rhythm, his head hurt and he was nauseous and dizzy. He had been trying to call 911 but was unable to make the call.
As we awaited the ambulance I told him that it was my five-year-old grandson Dominic who had insisted we turn around to help him. He was very appreciative. As the paramedics treated the man, I told Dominic how proud I was of him for helping to save this man's life. He beamed with pride.
Reflecting on the day, I realized how frustrating it must be for a child who has an urgent message that falls on deaf ears. Had I refused to go back, I don't know what might have happened to the man, but I do know Dominic would have also suffered. The lesson I will take from this is to listen better to a child.
This sweet child became a hero that day.
Proud Grandma Robin Wiley is Director of Corporate Relations for Proctors & Cap Rep Theatres. She is thrilled with her new hero.
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