Why I Wrote a Thank-You Note to a 911 Operator

Why I Wrote a Thank-You Note to a 911 Operator

Sometimes parenting advice comes from the most unexpected places.


By: Maria Mora

When my 8-year-old son spiked a high fever with a virus, I carried him to my bedroom and let him sleep with me. I woke up many times that night, and no matter what I did, his temperature kept climbing. When it hit 105, I assumed the forehead thermometer I’d used was inaccurate.

I’ll never know exactly what his temperature was, but just before 3 a.m., he had a major seizure. I woke up to his skinny body convulsing in the bed beside me. He made horrific noises and wouldn’t respond to me. In a blind panic, I picked up my cell phone and dialed 911.

I can’t begin to recall everything the operator said to me during that nine-minute call, but one thing will stick with me for the rest of my life:

“You’re doing exactly what he needs. You’re exactly what he needs right now.”

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As moms, we doubt our own instincts. We fret and double check and conduct dozens of Internet searches. We second-guess ourselves. We ask our friends and ask the doctor and ask more friends. It’s too easy to lose sight of the fact that sometimes we’re exactly what our children need.

I may have been sobbing to the 911 operator, but I did exactly what my son needed me to do. I called for help and stayed beside him. I followed the woman’s calm instructions. I told my son that I loved him, that he was going to be all right, and that he wasn’t alone.

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Several days later, when my son was discharged from the hospital with a new diagnosis of epilepsy, I found the 911 administrative office’s phone number and asked for a way to contact the operator who took my call that scary night. I wrote her a long letter, thanking her for being there for me during such a horrible time.

I thanked her for the wisdom of her words.

I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I try my best and I love my son. That’s exactly what he needs.


Maria Mora is a single mom, editor, and hockey fanatic. She lives with her two sons in Florida.

Image ©iStock.com/ktmoffitt


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