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Polk County first grader with autism honored after helping mom during medical emergency

Posted at 5:23 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 17:53:52-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Quick thinking by a six-year-old Polk County student got her mom the medical help she desperately needed.

Esperanza Lopez is not your average first grader at Spook Hill Elementary. She’s also her mom’s guardian angel.

“She has autism. She has ADD and ADHD,” said Esperanza’s mom, Angela. “I didn’t think she would have the bravery to go get help and then come back, and says, ‘Mommy, it’s okay, don’t cry. I’m just going to call 911.'”

Last month, Angela fell off a five-foot ladder onto her back. Unable to move, Esperanza picked up the phone and dialed 911 when she couldn’t find help nearby.

The six-year-old calmly alerted dispatch, who then helped guide first responders to their door.

Polk County Fire Rescue honored Esperanza at school Wednesday morning in front of her classmates, while also highlighting the importance of kids knowing when and how to dial for help.

“We use the terms like ‘bravery’ and ‘hero,’ and certainly this young lady standing next to me showed some of that,” said Fire Chief Robert Weech. "It shows the importance of parents teaching their kids 911 and how to interact when they have an emergency."

Weech says parents should help their kids learn to call 911 in an emergency as well as know their address and name to help dispatchers. The young hero is proof families don’t have to look far to find the help they need.

“She’s like ‘Mommy, I’m your hero,’ and I said, ‘You’ll always be my hero,” said Angela.