A 3-year-old boy saved the day in Knoxville, Tenn., when he noticed an elderly man trapped in a hot car.
Bob King, 68, was waiting in the car for his wife, Jenny, to finish an event at Vestal Baptist Church and found himself trapped inside the car.
The door had fallen shut and locked automatically, a problem that King says had been occurring since he and his wife purchased the car.
Outside, the temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit, but inside the car, the heat had climbed to over 120 degrees in that short amount of time. With no key on him and no air conditioning, an essential part of the car in the summertime, King was immediately in serious danger.
Bob King had suffered two strokes and undergone multiple cancer treatments over the past six months, however, and was too weak to push the door back open. Jenny King described him as “in very bad shape” and said that he “could barely see anything.”
But he was able to see 3-year-old Keith Williams walking past the car. King got his attention by knocking on the car window and yelling for him to go get help.
Keith’s mother, Jessie Williams had explained the dangers of a hot car to her son just days prior to the event, so the toddler knew what to do. Although he wasn’t strong enough to open the door himself, he ran over to Pastor Jack Greene, who was volunteering at the church’s benefit event.
“I was talking to someone and little Keith came behind me and kept saying, ‘Locked, locked, locked,'” Greene said to reporters. He followed to where Keith was gesturing and saw Bob King locked in his car.
After a few tries, Greene was able to open the door and get King out. Greene took him into the church, which was air-conditioned, and brought him some water.
King said that he would have waited another 20 minutes for his wife to come out of the church, but he was grateful that Keith found him when he did.
Jessie Williams said she was proud that her son knew what to do in the situation. Greene, who made sure that King was okay, said Keith is “such a good kid. He is an inspiration and blessing to us.”
Summertime is especially dangerous when it comes to sitting in a car without any source of ventilation. One father in Georgia, who killed his toddler son after leaving him in a hot car for seven hours, has been charged with murder and could face the death penalty.
Another father, however, has used these types of cases in the national news to record a PSA about the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car. Terry Williams, of Greensboro, N.C., filmed himself sitting in a hot car and uploaded the video to YouTube to raise awareness for the issue.
Parents are urged not to leave their children in cars, regardless of temperature. The inside of a car can reach up to 110 degrees even if the temperature outside is only in the 60s.