Ten-year-old Zhailah Massey-Hart knew exactly what to do when her mother had a seizure in the shower last month.
She and her 5-year-old niece called 911 immediately in the Aug. 1 incident. Massey-Hart gave the 911 telecommunicator her address and updates on her mom’s condition.
Her mom, Tammy Massey, has had epileptic seizures since she was 16 or 17 years old. She has always taught her children what to do in an emergency – call 911 and get help.
“It’s a 20-year difference between her and my oldest child,” Massey said. “I figure God had blessed me with her for a reason, and I believe she’s my guardian angel.”
The York County Department of Pubic Safety Communications honored Massey-Hart as a “911 Hero” Friday in front of her classmates at Northside Elementary School in Rock Hill. They presented her with a plaque and a gift bag.
“It’s really important to do the right things and to do the right things always,” Public Safety Communication Director Allen Brandon told Northside students. “You never know when you may be the person who saves someone’s life, or helps them in a crisis.”
Shannon Thomas, who has worked as a 911 telecommunicator for 10 years, was the 911 operator who received Massey-Hart’s call.
“You never know what you’re going to get when you answer the 911 line,” Thomas said. “I knew it was a child when she answered.”
She said Massey-Hart was calm and able to answer all of her questions, and that she ran to get a neighbor’s help.
“Her mother trained her well if that ever happened,” Thomas said. “Her mother actually trained all her children, in case something happened, to call 911.”
Massey-Hart said she didn’t want her mom to get in the shower that day.
“I knew something might happen,” she said.
Massey-Hart said she and her niece ran in and out of the bathroom, checking on her mom. Then, they heard the shower curtain fall.
She ran to her neighbor’s house for help, and she talked to Thomas on the phone. Her mom later woke up, safe in the ambulance.
“I’m glad she’s okay,” Massey-Hart said.
Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068