Technology has kept many of us together this year, even as everything seemed to be falling apart.
It’s a wonderful tool, and using it to communicate is one of the main reasons grandparents have really started to hone their digital skills.
Grandmother Natalie Neal is one of those grandparents who has enjoyed using technology to speak to her 5-year-old grandson, Tyrion, who lives an hour away from her with her daughter (his mom) Jasmine Neal in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Around mid-September, Natalie set up her Alexa to allow Tyrion to call her whenever he wanted. She figured it would be a cute way to get little messages from him.
“I just thought for you know, him to tell me, ‘Hey grandmom, I love you. Hey Gigi, I love you,'” Neal told WPVI-TV. “A week and a half later, he’s calling because he can’t wake his mom up, so it was a very smart thing to do without knowing I was being smart.”
Tyrion was well-versed in using the virtual assistant, and enjoyed talking to Alexa as many people do, but neither Natalie nor Tyrion knew just how vital their communication would be.
On Sept. 20, Natalie got a call from Tyrion. At first, she thought it was just a light-hearted call.
“I thought he was laughing or joking and it turns out he was crying,” she said. “I’m telling him to calm down and he told me he couldn’t wake his mom up. So, of course being her mom, my heart kind of fell to the ground a little bit.”
Jasmine, prone to epileptic seizures, was having the most severe episode of her life.
Tyrion, terrified, called his grandmother using Alexa, and she was able to keep talking to him and keep him calm while contacting 911.
“As a parent with a child who has epilepsy, who lives on her own, that’s a call I didn’t want to get because it could mean anything,” Natalie continued. “It could literally mean anything, so the first thing I had to do was realize he had my child’s life in his hands, so to speak because I’m an hour away.
“So, I told him what I was going to do before I even did it, which was call 911.”
Jasmine is doing well now, thanks to her son’s heroic actions, and she made sure to praise him on Facebook.
“So I’m in the hospital again,” Jasmine posted the day after her ordeal. “This boy saved my life!!! I’m so so so proud of him. He’s my hero. He’s saved my life twice now.
“If not for him I wouldn’t be here in so many ways. He’s my reason for fighting pushing and boy giving up and for everything else. I’m so proud of you my prince. I love you higher than the sky, deeper than the sea, around the world, and back again, forever and ever.”
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