Boy, 6, honored for calling 911 after mom collapsed

Jakob Hindman reunited with the dispatcher who answered his call and the responding paramedic, and was awarded a medal, a plaque and a superhero cape decorated with station patches

Abigail Curtis
Bangor Daily News, Maine

BELFAST, Maine — First-grader Jakob Hindman, 6, of Belmont, was home doing school remotely on Jan. 11 when he heard an ominous sound.

It was his mother, Chan'tal Hindman, who has epilepsy. She had suddenly fallen to the floor of her bedroom.

"I just heard a thump," Jakob said.

His mom was having a seizure — a serious one. Jakob, who was home alone with his mom, raced to get help. He found his mother's phone and made a flurry of phone calls — to his dad, Robert Vellaro, who was at work and couldn't answer, and then to a good family friend, who also didn't answer.

Then he called 911, because he knew it was an emergency. It was the right decision, said Melissa Bisson, the operator who took the call and guided Jakob as he made sure his mom's head was propped up and that she was still breathing.

It was a scary situation. But Jakob had it under control.

And as his mom returned to consciousness, Bisson could hear how he calmly told her what was happening, and that help was on the way.

"He was so compassionate and reassuring to his mother," she said. "His composure was just amazing. He was just as calm, and very polite. I'll have been at the [dispatch center] 17 years in July, and that was literally the best call I have ever taken."

After Bisson got off the phone, she turned to a coworker and said, "This little boy deserves to be recognized."

On Wednesday, she and Debby Heath, the paramedic who responded to the Hindman's home that day, made it happen. They asked Jakob and his family to come to the Belfast Fire Department, where they surprised him with a medal, a plaque and a superhero cape which they had decorated with patches from their department. He even got to sit in a firetruck and sound the horn.

"We're just so proud of him," his grandmother, Stacy Jones of Monroe, said. "Chan'tal's had epilepsy for a while. We talked to Jakob about calling 911, if they were the only ones there, so he could get Mama help. We were hoping it would never have to happen. But when it did, he was right there, like the little superhero he is."

At the fire station, when Jakob met Bisson for the first time, they shook hands. Later, he gave her a hug.

"I'm so proud of you, buddy," his mom told him.

If it hadn't been for Jakob's quick thinking and cool-headed demeanor, she said, things could have gone badly for her that day.

"I wouldn't have been able to breathe," she said.

Jakob, who counts among his favorite superheroes Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash, was shyly excited about the accolades. He said that if other kids find themselves in a similar situation, they should try to stay calm, too. And he said he's going to enjoy his new cape — a lot.

"Now I can really be Batman," he said.


(c)2021 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine)


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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