Lifestyle & Human Interest

When Phone Stops Working, 11-Year-Old Boy Finds Ingenious Way to Save His Fallen Grandmother


Kaleb Greenough from Maryland Heights, Missouri, is just 11 years old, but he can already claim the title of “lifesaver.”

Though he is young, he knows what he wants to do when he grows up — even if he’s not quite sure how that will play out in terms of career yet.

“Lawyer, policeman, fireman,” he said, according to KSDK-TV. “I’ve gone through mostly everything that can help people.”

And that seems likely, given the fact that he is already doing just that. Recently, he showed how calm and collected he can be in emergencies and proved that he’s got a good head on his shoulders.

Kaleb’s grandma, Sherri Bell, was the only other person home one day recently when she had a fall. She suffers from multiple health issues, is on kidney dialysis and is legally blind, so after she fell, she stayed there for fear of injuring herself further.

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“She walked over and she tripped because she can’t hold herself that up alone for that long and she fell,” Kaleb explained. “She had not tried to get up because I knew if she would have gotten up she would have hurt herself worse.”

The boy knew exactly what to do: Dial 911. But when he got to the phone, it wasn’t working.

So he improvised. He logged onto his Parkwood Elementary online art class — which he was late for due to the accident his grandma had — and his teacher, Janel Maclean, immediately knew something was wrong.

“He was so calm and collected, but I could tell that he wanted to speak with me, so I just said, like ‘Hey Kaleb, what’s up?'”she said. “And he messaged on the chat, you know, ‘Can you please call my mom for me?'”

She couldn’t get his mother on the phone, but Principal Melissa Yount-Ott was contacted and joined the Zoom call to speak with Kaleb and figure out what was wrong.

“I was really focused on asking Caleb questions trying to really determine what the situation was,” she recalled. “I needed to know like how … I mean really I needed to first know if we did need to call 911.”

Soon the story came out, and an ambulance was dispatched to the home. Kaleb watched as first responders drove right past their home, so he ran out and flagged them down.

“And I saw a police car just driving by, and I had to run outside to wave him over,” he said.

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Thankfully, his grandma got help and is now doing better, all thanks to Kaleb’s quick thinking and the help of his teacher and principal — who were both thoroughly impressed with their student’s behavior.

“His confidence and his pride in the whole situation was — was just very, very impressive,” Yount-Ott said.

“I was a little bit more panicked because I don’t ever deal with a situation like this,” she later said. “He was so just kind with her. And I could tell that she was upset and stressed as well but he was able to really calm her.”

“It was just really, really neat to see our community and our school come together like that to help him out.”

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