SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Lyft driver rescued a barefoot toddler wandering alone outside of an apartment complex as the atmospheric river tore through Santa Rosa on Wednesday evening.
Driver Del Hedrick had just dropped off a Lyft user at around 10:45 p.m. when he noticed an unaccompanied toddler girl–without suitable clothing for the storm–near the side of the road. The girl was less than two years old.
Hedrick approached the child and kept her warm and safe inside of his vehicle.
“Right at that moment, there she goes, the child, right in front of me…ran right out in front of the car,” said Hedrick.
Hedrick attempted to search the nearby apartment complex to return the girl to her family, but to no avail. He contacted Santa Rosa police shortly after for assistance.
A responding officer arrived, wrapped the girl in a blanket and was able to reunite her with her family.
“Eventually, he came across the babysitter and an older sibling of the child that were very frantically looking for her,” said Sgt. Jeaneane Kucker, spokesperson for Santa Rosa PD.
Apparently, the child slipped out the door when she saw her mother leaving for work and wandered only about 50 feet from her home when she ended up in the street. Luckily for her, the sharp-eyed Hedrick was there to give this story a happy ending.
Hedrick said the whole incident lasted about 15 minutes.
“Del Hedrick’s actions demonstrate how we all work together to keep our community safe. His initiative to shelter the toddler and help reunite her with her family is both heartening and inspiring,” said Santa Rosa Police Department in a Facebook post praising the driver’s heroism.
“Del, we are incredibly grateful that you were able to look out for this little one!” Lyft replied to Hedrick’s Twitter video.
Hedrick says he’s not a hero; in fact, he seems a little embarrassed by the whole thing. He says you’ve got to wonder about anyone who wouldn’t do what he did.
Police say the whole thing was an accident and no one did anything wrong, but it is a good reminder of the importance of baby-proofing a home with young children.
Santa Rosa and the North Bay received the brunt of the vicious storm. The area was subject to mudslides and flooding from the Santa Rosa Creek.
Stay up to date with the latest coverage of the storm and its ramifications at CBS San Francisco Weather.