Little Danny DiPietro is a ten-year-old from Howell, Michigan, and the locals are hailing him as a hero. One Saturday evening in January, Danny and his father were headed home from hockey practice. As they drove along the snow-and ice-covered streets, young Danny was alert and paying attention. As they approached their house, Danny noticed that a neighbor’s garage door was open and saw what appeared to be a dog standing outside. Given that temperatures had fallen below zero, Danny got the feeling that something wasn’t right.
Once they got home, Danny explained to his mother what he had seen and why he believed it was out of place. His mom explained to Danny that there was an extreme cold advisory in effect and that no one would leave a dog out in such weather. Never one to give up, Danny insisted that his mom investigate what was going on. Mom bundled up and headed to the neighbor’s house. Sure enough, as she approached the open garage door, she noticed it wasn’t a dog outside but their elderly neighbor sitting outside the garage waving frantically.
The eighty-year- old neighbor had fallen on some ice outside her garage and had been lying on the ice for two hours, unable to get herself up. Danny’s mom called 911 and covered the woman with some old blankets from the garage while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Once safely at the hospital, the elderly lady was treated for a fractured hip. The ambulance driver commented that if it had not been for Danny’s attention to detail, the woman would have most likely succumbed to the cold and died.
Young Danny deserves the title of hero. Had it not been for his level of attention and comprehension of the situation, a woman would have most likely died that night. Danny doesn’t possess any special skills or talents that set him apart from the rest of us; he simply had his head up and was paying attention to what was going on around him.
Danny fully understood what was normal in his neighborhood, and to him the presence of an open garage door in such extreme cold fell way outside of the established baseline for that area and warranted further investigation. This story illustrates the fact that situational awareness isn’t just something that’s practiced by law enforcement and military types. It’s a way of viewing and analyzing your surroundings that can be adopted and implemented by everyone, even a ten year- old.