Kids & Family

12-Year-Old 'Hero' Parks Car When Mother Has a Seizure Behind the Wheel

When she realized something was terribly wrong, she sprang into action.


Even though 12-year-old Melaniah Andrade isn't old enough to drive, her quick action from the passenger seat last month likely saved hers and her mother's lives.

During a shopping trip at Target, Melaniah recalls her mother acting strangely when they were at the store.

"She wasn't talking to me, and she wasn't really responding back to what I was saying, or what I was doing," Melaniah told KTUU-TV .

When the two left the store's parking lot, Johnson (pictured below with her daughter) started driving erratically and started calling her daughter, "Mom."

They would find out later that she was having an "absence seizure," likely as a result of breast cancer recently spreading to her brain. Johnson had health problems, but she said she had never had a seizure before.

"It was such a scary moment in both of our lives," Johnson said. "You know, nothing like that had ever happened."

That's when Melaniah called 911. With her voice shaking, she told the dispatcher what was happening and she let them know where they were at by sharing the names of the roads they were crossing.

As instructed by the 911 operator, Melaniah clicked on the car's hazard lights as Johnson turned onto a dead and street. After accelerating toward a tree, the car hit a patch of grass and she was able to remove her mother's foot from the pedal and put the car into park. She quickly removed the keys from the ignition and the two waited for help to arrive.

When Johnson later heard a recording of her daughter's 911 call, she was stunned at how well she handled the situation.

"When I heard the 911 recording, I grasped how amazing Melaniah was in the situation," she told Yahoo Lifestyle . "I also felt guilty."

A week after the incident, Melaniah received a heroism award from the Wasilla police and Alaska State Troopers for her "outstanding efforts...in which you called 911 for a medical emergency while remaining calm." They also gave her a gift basket filled with snow gear, gift cards and a police coin and badge.

While Melaniah said she's glad she did all the right things, she's been a little embarrassed by all of the attention she's been getting.

"It was scary and crazy," she said, "and something we can all learn from."

Do you know of a hero that deserves to be celebrated? Sign up and sign in to tell the world all about it. Let's "Start something good" together.

(Source: images Alaska State Troopers )

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