Right before an armed robber locked Mary Graves in the sweltering trunk of her car, she dialed 911 on her cellular phone and slipped it to her 3-year-old daughter.
The little girl saved the day.
While she stayed in the car, the girl told emergency operators that her mother was locked in the trunk and gave them some important clues: She could see airplanes and sky, according to 911 transcripts.
The operators called Tampa International Airport police, who searched the top floor of the airport parking garage where the car was parked.
Operators told the girl to honk the horn, helping police find the car and free Graves. The girl is not usually allowed to honk, Graves said.
“But when she started, I was screaming, ‘Honk it baby, you just keep honking,”’ she said. “I don’t think I could have lasted much longer. It was just so hot.”
The gunman had sneaked into the unlocked car Friday afternoon when Ms. Graves stopped to buy cigarettes. When mother and daughter got back into the car, the man emerged from the back seat.
He robbed Graves of an undetermined amount of money, told her to drive to the airport and locked her in the trunk before escaping.
Graves, who did not want to identify her daughter, was just glad to be alive.
“Well, I gave her her life and she gave me mine,” Graves said.