NORTH FORT MYERS
A little girl in Southwest Florida is alive thanks to a neighbor, who her parents say is a hero.
Penny is 18 months old. Her parents say she got away from the family and fell into a pond near home recently in North Fort Myers.
Penny is on a ventilator currently. But it’s a second chance she has been given thanks to the quick actions of a neighbor.
“She was found unconscious, face down,” said Paul Todd Jr., Penny’s father.
Todd thought his baby girl was playing with her older sisters. But he and his family soon realized she was nowhere to be found.
“We were sort of paralyzed in that moment,” Todd said. “It was just a silence in the house that we knew. It didn’t mean anything good. So, at that point, my wife and our daughters went out searching frantically to find her.”
Todd’s neighbors joined the search. One of them found Penny lifeless in a pond near home.
“He did yell out, that, ‘She’s here; she’s here; I have her,” Todd said.
Penny was found with blue lips, and she was unresponsive. The neighbor got Penny out of the water and started CPR and was able to get a pulse.
Todd told us his neighbor is a hero.
“Your actions as a human being and humanitarian of a person and angel, has given my daughter a chance at life again,” Todd said.
Todd spoke to us over the phone because he and his wife are not letting Penny out their sight again.
“There’s got to be a reason why she is here because not everyone is so lucky,” Todd said.
Their faith was tested, and their prayers were answered.
“She has a long road ahead of her to be that happy, smiley girl that you see,” Todd said.
Todd said Penny remains on a ventilator but is taking breaths on her own. He said, even though she is not awake currently, she’s comfortable because her two best friends are with her — Elmo and Cookie Monster.
“We love this girl with all of our hearts,” Todd said. “And she has friends, family and people that she hasn’t even met that are waiting for the day she opens those beautiful eyes and looks at all of us and says that was a weird dream.”