Back in 1994, Shammarah Hamideh was a 2-month-old baby who suddenly stopped breathing. Her tortured father stood outside his apartment holding his baby, who had gone limp, unsure of what he could do to save her life.
Then-Sgt. Joseph Barca was the first to respond to the call and the officer became a hero that day when he managed to clear the infant's airway obstruction and help her take a breath. Basically, he saved her life as she was on her way to the hospital.
Over the years, Barca and the girl's family stayed in touch and Shammarah's parents -- who are from Palestine -- even referred to the cop as their daughter's "American father." And then the sweetest reward of all came: the nursing school graduate, now 20, invited the police officer and his wife to her wedding.
Barca and Hamideh made headlines in the '90s. Remembering it as a day he'd never forget, the officer said resuscitation didn't work for the infant and that he had to hit her on the back a few times and then try and breath into her mouth again and again.
I can't imagine the joy experienced in that hospital room when Hamideh's father, who was left alone in front of their apartment as an ambulance whisked his baby away, arrived to find Barca was alive and well. The cop says he told him, "You hear that baby crying? That's yours," and that dad then began sobbing. Reading that makes me want to cry, too!
Hamideh will be married in August in Chicago. She says Barca sends her a birthday card and a check every year on her birthday and that he and his wife treat her like a daughter.
What a sweet story. With so much negative attention placed on police officers lately, it's good to remember that there are just as many good apples in the world -- in all professions -- as there are bad ones. Love that these folks all keep in touch and that gratitude is alive and well.
What do you think about this story? Are you getting tired of hearing so many negative tales about police officers?
Image via Yonkers Police Department/Facebook