Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Fifty-two-year-old Stephen St. Bernard, an MTA bus driver from Brooklyn, just happened to be walking home when he heard shouts coming from a crowd of people gathered outside his apartment building, pointing at a window three stories overhead. He looked up and saw a little girl standing on an air-conditioning unit, moving around, "seemingly unafraid." St. Bernard, on the other hand, was afraid. He knew what was going to happen next.
"I just prayed that I'd catch her," he said later.
"'Please let me catch her, please let me catch her.' That's all I could say."
And because every so often, life imitates one of those feel-good, fairy tale, miracles really do happen type movies ...
He did! Stephen St. Bernard DID catch the 7-year-old girl as she fell from that air conditioning unit three stories above. And the whole thing was caught on tape!
"I picked her up and carried her ... She kept looking around. She never closed her eyes. She never lost consciousness."
Yeah, thanks to YOU she never lost consciousness! According to neighbors, the autistic girl, named Keyla, apparently pushed the unit's plastic accordion partitions to the side to climb outside and on to the air conditioner. (Thank god the whole thing didn't come tumbling down!!)
The scariest part -- to me and probably most other moms, anyway -- is that Keyla's mother was actually in the apartment when she climbed out the window but was distracted taking care of her other child and didn't notice. (And if you have more than one child, you KNOW how easily this could happen to anyone.)
Anyway, thankfully Keyla suffered only very minor injuries, while St. Bernard tore a tendon in his shoulder ("a small price to pay," he says).
Phew! I guess we can all exhale now. And the moral of the story is ... childproof your windows, even if you think you don't have to, because Stephen St. Bernard is clearly out of commission for a while.
Does this story scare you? Inspire you? Or both?