When Yanire Mendes was driving along Route 140 South in Lakeville, Massachusetts, on Oct. 11, she had no idea she was about to become one little girl’s hero.
At around 4:30 p.m. she spotted a horrifying scene: A car had left the road, plowing into a stand of trees along the roadway. No one had responded to the scene yet, and she pulled over to check things out.
She approached the vehicle to find a 4-year-old girl in the crumpled car. Thankfully, she’d been properly secured in her car seat and seemed to be fine physically.
Mendes got the girl out of the trashed car and comforted her until first responders arrived and cared for the driver — the girl’s mother.
“She was shaking pretty violently,” Mendes recalled, according to WCVB-TV. “I just put a blanket around her, just held her and consoled her. I just acknowledged what she had already seen, that mom had some injuries and that mom was bleeding.
“Mom had some boo-boos, but there are some great men that are on their way.”
She and the girl talked about all sorts of things: the colors around them, the bracelet the girl was wearing and the beads on it and — of course — “Paw Patrol.”
The first responders were thankful for Mendes, as she allowed them to focus their efforts on retrieving and tending to the girl’s mother, knowing that the girl was cared for and out of the way.
“She had a mother’s presence about her,” Chief Michael O’Brien said. “I asked her how many children she had without knowing and she said three. She was a mom at that moment, standing in for the actual mom, which is what that baby needed at the time.”
The injured mother was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, and the girl was also taken to get checked out. No one had gotten Mendes’ name, but the Lakeville Fire Department soon posted about the incident, publicly commending her.
“A passing motorist stopped to assist the crash victims prior to the arrival of first responders,” the department wrote. “The unknown woman cared for and comforted the young child until ambulance crews took over care. The woman was able to calm the upset child and even had her smiling and laughing.
“We do not know the good samaritan’s identity but would like to say thank you!”
By the next day, Mendes had been identified, according to WBTS-TV. Lakeville Fire Chief Mike Evans met up with her to thank her and present her with a very important thank-you gift from the little girl: the bracelet she’d been wearing.
The mother of the girl has also since contacted Mendes to express her gratitude.
“She was the right person, at the right time, in the right situation,” Evans acknowledged, “and we are grateful for her assistance.”