California Lyft driver rescues toddler found alone in the rain

PHOTO: Lyft driver Del Hedrick talks to KGO about the night he found an unattended toddler in a parking lot while dropping off a passenger in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Feb. 12, 2019.PlayKGO-TV
WATCH Lyft driver rescues toddler found alone in the rain

Del Hedrick was driving for Lyft and had just dropped off a passenger at an apartment complex when something startled him.

"I see a baby, right in front of the car!" he said, according to ABC affiliate KGO. "Rain is pouring, it's 40 degrees outside and I froze. It was scary. It was a really scary moment."

The father of two jumped into action, scooping up the toddler from the Santa Rosa, California, apartment complex parking lot around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"She was barefoot, soaking wet, onesie soaking, wet hair, full diaper -- yeah, it was heartbreaking," he said.

PHOTO: A Lyft driver found an unaccompanied toddler in this neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Calif., Feb. 12, 2019. KGO-TV
A Lyft driver found an unaccompanied toddler in this neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Calif., Feb. 12, 2019.

Hedrick knocked on some nearby doors to try and find the toddler's caretakers. But when nobody recognized her, he took the toddler into his car and turned on the heat, trying "to warm her up and calm her down," he said.

A video shot by Hedrick and posted by the Santa Rosa Police shows Hedrick in his car with the toddler, explaining what had happened.

"Cops are on their way," he said in the video.

Santa Rosa Police arrived soon after and were able to locate the toddler's family and reunite her with them, the department said in a Facebook post. The toddler was about 50 to 75 feet away from her home, Sgt. Jeneane Kucker told ABC News, and it only took about 20 minutes after Hedrick's call for the toddler to be reunited with her family.

PHOTO: Lyft driver Del Hedrick is pictured with a toddler he found in a parking lot in Santa Rosa, Calif., Dec. 12, 2019. Santa Rosa Police/Facebook
Lyft driver Del Hedrick is pictured with a toddler he found in a parking lot in Santa Rosa, Calif., Dec. 12, 2019.

Kucker also said that police do not suspect neglect or abuse. Instead, it appears the toddler simply walked out an open door when a babysitter and the mother had a miscommunication. The babysitter and the toddler's sister were looking for the toddler when police arrived.

In the Facebook post, Santa Rosa Police praised Hedrick as a "community hero," saying his "actions demonstrate how we all work together to keep our community safe."

While the toddler is now safe at home, Hedrick was shaken by the incident, according to KGO, and hugged his own kids tight when he got home that night.

Comments