As they drove down the road in Lakeland, Florida, siblings Darrell, 8, and Ahnlyse, 6, noticed that their grandmother looked like she was dozing off on the wheel. The car wove through the traffic as the kids tried to find out what was going on, having no idea that their grandmother had just had a stroke. Fortunately, the car was only going about 20 miles per hour, but other drivers honked at them as the car veered over the lines and ran stop signs. Darrell recalled, “The car behind us started honking because we were driving too slow and I was waving my hand out like this.”
Despite the horrifying situation they were in, the children managed to stay calm as they tried to figure out what to do next. Darrell, who was in the passenger seat, took the wheel to steer and then went ahead to Google “how to drive a stick shift,” and soon found out that the car was actually automatic. He told his sister to jump in the front seat. He said, “Ahnlyse got right here on her lap, and I just grab the wheel and just try to turn with her.”
Miraculously, the car did not hit anything or run over anyone. In a little while, the kids managed to turn the car into a hotel parking lot, where they finally came to a stop when they hit a curb. Then they got out and asked someone to call 911. When police arrived, they were so amazed by the young kids’ courageous and brave actions and how they were able to stay so calm in such a tense situation.
Talking about the kids’ actions that day, School Resource Officer Preston Chatman said. “I would definitely remember their names, get their autographs now. They’re going to be something in society and the world.”
While the terrifying incident happened in June, Lakeland Police honored Darrell and Ahnlyse just this week. The siblings understand the intensity of what they did that day. When asked what they think of themselves they said in unison, “a hero.” And we agree! They not only saved their own lives and their grandmother’s, but also protected a number of other lives on the road that day. Fortunately, their grandmother is doing well and is recovering from the stroke.