Bravest 13-year-old I’ve met
Without second thought, I ripped off my shirt to apply pressure and compress the cuts I could see — and they were unlike anything I had ever seen before.
It was an unusually chilly night of only 30 degrees, but I honestly didn’t realize I was barefoot and in a sports bra until later.
All I cared about was this young girl who was so distraught.
I knew I needed to stop as much of the bleeding as possible and, equally as important, I needed to keep her calm and from looking at the house or her cuts.
I started to introduce myself to her and made small conversation and learned her name was Jaylah — we both were shocked at how similar our names were.
She’s by far the kindest, most thoughtful, and most polite 13-year-old I’ve ever met.
She kept her manners, saying please and thank you, and called me ma’am even in the scariest and most uncertain of situations.
Jaylah was injured pretty substantially, but her own well-being was the last thing on her mind. All she was concerned about was her mother who she told me was still in the house.
While I was pressing my shirt on her wounds and holding her hand tightly, she asked if I would pray with her for her mother.
We continued to pray for several minutes together as I kept my eyes glued to the house, looking for any sign of hope that progress was being made.
It was impossible to see anything but smoke, and all I heard was fire cracking and shouting. This was really the first time I realized how scary this situation was, and I couldn’t believe this was happening.
I didn’t know where Tommy or his mom was, but I had no doubt he would do anything he could to rescue anyone in the house.
I just couldn’t imagine being in Jaylah’s shoes.
Such an innocent heart being put through the unimaginable the day after Christmas.
Thank God our prayers would soon be answered as I saw a group of people carrying a woman away from the house.
I had no idea what condition she was in, but I saw her eyes were open and so I let Jaylah know her mom was out of the house and responsive.
She instantly burst into tears of relief, and then she became concerned for herself, telling me she felt like her chest was burning, her arm was numb, and that she was afraid for her own life.
I did what I could to distract Jaylah while trying to see how her mom was doing and where Tommy was.
I repeatedly told Jaylah how proud I was of her and that she was so brave.
She did so good to do whatever she could to get out of the house.
I told her that she was so selfless for caring about her mother and family regardless of her condition.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to lock eyes on Tommy and his mom next to Jaylah’s mother — I could finally take a deep breath in the chaos.
Knowing he was out of the house, I turned 100% focus back on Jaylah and embraced her in a hug to comfort her and keep her warm.
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