While driving home from work, a first-grade teacher spotted one of her students frantically pedaling his bike down a busy highway. Afraid he might get hurt, she immediately pulled him over to the side of the road. It was then that she caught one glimpse of his face, telling her everything she needed to know.
After leaving a particularly rough day at work, Ellen Woodside Elementary School teacher Keller Sutherland left for the day. Her meetings for the afternoon had been canceled, so she decided to rest at her home in Greenville, South Carolina, for a few hours before the Wednesday night church service started. However, she encountered something on her drive home that changed everything.
Although many teachers work from the first bell until the time that school lets out, there are exceptional educators who go above and beyond to make an impact on their pupils. Then there are those incredible students who are the ones inspiring their teachers in ways only a child can.
As she drove down US 25, Sutherland spotted a young boy frantically pedaling his heart out down the highway, which has neither a median nor a shoulder. Concerned that he might get hit by the speeding vehicles, she quickly stopped the child only to realize he was one of her former students, a 7-year-old boy named Cameron. It was when she pulled him over that she saw an expression she’ll never forget — a look of sheer terror on the boy’s face.
Sutherland initially asked Cameron if his father knew he was riding his bike down the highway alone. Out of breath, the child responded that he did not. Knowing that Cameron wasn’t one to run away from home, Sutherland pressed the boy for answers. Disturbingly, his confession told her everything she needed to know.
According to Greenville News, Cameron’s father is severely diabetic, which sometimes dangerously causes him to lose brain function. When this occurs, Cameron knows that he must call for emergency help. However, he explained to Sutherland that he couldn’t get his dad’s phone unlocked and none of his neighbors were home to help. It was then that he made the decision to ride his bike to his grandmother’s house 5 miles away in order to save his father’s life.
“I said, ‘Cameron tell me what’s going on at the house.’ And he said, ‘My dad’s diabetic. Sometimes he has episodes, and when he does he loses brain function,’” Keller Sutherland said.
Sutherland explained that Cameron was holding it together for his dad, determined to get help for him even if it meant cycling down a busy highway for several miles. Luckily, a pair of semi-truck drivers had pulled over as well, notifying 911 of the situation.
“He was the bravest little boy I have ever seen,” she said.
Emergency responders arrived at Cameron’s house to find his father lying barely conscious on the bathroom floor. He received medical treatment at the scene and was stabilized. Thanks to his 7-year-old son’s efforts, Cameron’s dad suffered no serious injury.
Inspired by Cameron’s determination and courage, his school decided to honor him. Principal Shawn McCain said that the school would not only laud the boy’s efforts but also show each of the students how to make emergency calls on different types of phones.
“Cameron was doing exactly what he was taught,” McCain said, but he didn’t know how to unlock his dad’s phone.
Keller Sutherland concluded that although she believes that divine providence put her in the right place at the right time, Cameron is the real hero. In fact, it was his selfless action in the face of fear and danger that has inspired her to be a better teacher to her students.
“God just showed up in an amazing way,” Sutherland said. “On a day when I felt I wasn’t making an impact, He just intervened and placed me where I needed to be for Cameron.”
Cameron’s mother expressed her gratitude for Sutherland and the others who stopped to help her son. She confirmed that her son trusted his teacher, which is why his fear subsided the moment he saw her.
Because of Cameron, his father is alive and well today. However, the little boy also gave credit to his teacher, confessing that he knew that everything would be okay as soon as he saw her on the highway.
Though we often hear about inspirational educators who put forth the extra effort for their students, it’s just as heartwarming to see students making such a positive impact on their teachers as well.