Bright Spots: Preschool hero gets teacher help when she needed it most

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We’ve all heard the expression “the right place at the right time.” But sometimes it’s a little more than that: It’s about taking action.

If you know a 4-year-old child, you never know what you’re going to get out of them. But one local teacher got a helping hand that may have saved her life.

“I just started to feel sick all the sudden,” said American Christian Academy preschool teacher Kayla Phelps. “I just kind of stumbled to the ground.”

Most of the time, we think of teachers helping their students, but in this case Phelps called on 4-year-old Ridge Shirley.

“I looked around and I saw Ridge. I said, ‘He is the one. He can go get me help. He is very persistent. And I know he can get it done,’ ” Phelps said.

And get it done he did. Ridge went and notified another adult that his teacher had fallen and needed help quickly.

“I ran and got help for Miss Kayla,” Ridge said.

Even though Ridge is plenty brave, he was worried about his teacher.

“It scared me when Ms. Kayla fell down,” he said.

Today, Phelps is fine. She’s back in her classroom, where Ridge Shirley received a lot more for his good deed than a pat on the back.

The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office presented Ridge with a life-saving medal and certificate. Phelps said proud is an understatement.

“I think it is such a great honor,” she said. “He deserves it. I hope he remembers this forever. It will definitely stick with me forever.”

Phelps credits Ridge’s home life for for saving hers.

“We’ve always talked to him about other kids,” said Ridge’s dad, Cole Shirley. “If you see other kids get hurt or being picked on, don’t hesitate to go get another adult. I guess that transferred. When he saw his teacher and she asked him for some help, it just clicked in his head that she really needed some help so he ran and got help.”

“We are very proud of him,” Ridge’s mom Lori said. “Good job, buddy.”

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