Police Officer Has 'Tea Party' With Toddler Whose Life He Saved

"She's my best friend," Officer Patrick Ray said.

— -- It was tea time this month for one toddler and the police officer who saved her life last year.

"It was something that I just couldn't turn down because I knew it was going to be really special for her mom and Bexley," Ray told ABC News. "I have two boys, so I don't get to do that type of stuff you do with a little girl. She's a sweetheart. She's my best friend."

On July 26, 2015, Bexley was playing in her swimming pool at home with her mom, Tammy Norvell, and her siblings.

Norvell of Rowlett, Texas, told ABC News that she was taking the kids inside for a nap when she noticed her daughter's lips were blue.

"She went completely limp," Norvell recalled. "It was more than falling asleep. She just collapsed. I looked in her eyes and she was so distant. We had no clue she had swallowed anything."

To Norvell's horror, Bexley had been choking on a penny.

At 2:14 p.m., Bexley's father called 911. Ray was out on his lunch break, but answered the call.

"I heard [Ray's] siren and ran out the front door," Norvell said. "He's grabbing her from me and is trying to pry her mouth open with two hands. He did the finger sweep into her esophagus and a penny dropped down into it. That's when we heard the most beautiful sound of her squeaking and coughing and crying."

According to Ray's body camera, he saved Bexley's life in 27 seconds, Norvell said.

Now, one year later, the Ray and Norvell families are closer than ever.

"We saw them for Thanksgiving, we had Christmas together, he came to my kids' parties," Norvell said. "I feel that I have no words, even after a year. I hold [police officers] all in high regard, but there's no way to repay [Ray]. I want to portray that image, that they have a softer side. If we can change one person's image of police officers, then the world can only be better."

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