LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Not too many kids can say they saved a life but two Lakeland youngsters are the exception.
They jumped into action and grabbed the wheel when their grandma was having a stroke as she drove down one of Lakeland’s busiest streets.
Darrell and his young sister Ahnlyse look like just average kids. But even they know they pulled off something extraordinary.
They saved their grandma’s life, and probably their own.
One morning this past summer, their grandma was taking the kids for something to eat, driving on Florida Avenue, when she began to doze off.
“She was acting a little weird like I had never seen her before,” 8-year-old Darrell explained.
The car started to weave and slow down. The kids say she seemed really out of it.
She was having a stroke.
“The car behind us started honking because we were driving too slow and I was waving my hand out like this,” Darrell demonstrated, his arm outstretched. “She was not in good condition.”
No one seemed to realize the kids and their grandmother were in big trouble.
Their grandmother’s car was an automatic, but Darrell thought it might be a standard shift.
Apparently not one to panic, he asked Google, “How do you drive a standard?”
But as tension rose, Darrell told his sister to jump from the back seat onto their grandma’s lap.
The kids took the wheel - and control.
“I was using my feet to try and do it,” Ahnlyse said.
“To do what?” FOX 13 asked.
“Press the gas,” she replied.
“It was scary for me, but she said it was a little scary for her,” Darrell recalls.
But Ahnlyse remembers the situation differently.
“I was alright, my brother was crying,” she said.
But somehow they made it into the parking lot of a hotel.
“I would definitely remember their names, get their autographs because they’re going to be something in society and the world,” Lakeland Police Officer Preston Chatmon said.
It so captured the heart of Lakeland officers, the department honored the kids with a Do the Right Thing Award.
The recognition was cool but something else will last a lot longer: their time together.
Because, miraculously, they’re all still here. The kids’ grandma is still recovering from the stroke.
Her family says she is coming along, but not out of the woods just yet.