Why I should have been on the evening news

No, it has nothing to do with family services or anything like that.  (Just in case that was your first guess.)  I was a hero.  Well kind of a bumbling, awkward, and maybe a teeny bit screaming hero, but a hero all the same.

I went to the zoo yesterday with my children, my mother-in-law and 3 nieces and nephews.  There was supposed to be a shark feeding, so we headed to the aquarium wing.  There’s a display part in the middle that has sharks (not the man-eating kind) and stingrays.  To set the scene accurately, they’re all about the size of a standard bed pillow.  The tank is open on the top, and probably about three or four feet deep or so, and maybe overall the size of a putting green. A fairly large display.  Kids can stand on the side and put their hands in the water and if anything swims near to the top, you can stroke its back.  But it’s quite deep and usually the creatures are all out of reach.  Believe me, we’ve stood there for hours before because Grant just couldn’t go until he made contact.


Yesterday, I walked up behind my own children just in time to see a little girl to Grant’s right go up on her tip toes, bend over the glass and reach just far enough that she FELL IN THE SHARK TANK HEAD FIRST!  Her feet were up in the air and over the edge of the glass so she was literally submerged upside down and couldn’t get her head back above water.  After my tiny (but very brave) scream, I bent over, reached all the way down into the water grabbed under her shoulders and pulled her head up out of the water.  Then I lifted her up and out of the tank.

I will try to refrain from social commentary when I say that some lady from the day care she was visiting with looked at me, came over from across the display, walked away with the girl and said NOTHING to me.  My shirt and pants were wet, and I was a tad freaked out, but mostly unharmed.

This may not actually sound that heroic to anyone, but just about a month ago I had a slight panic attack while canoeing on the river because I have a phobia of contact with lake and/or river and/or ocean creatures.  And I saw Jaws.  So I think I deserve some kind of good citizen medal or something for flinging myself into a shark and stingray tank.


27 thoughts on “Why I should have been on the evening news

  1. You ARE awesome. I’m sad the day care provider wasn’t more gracious, but I’m wondering if might have been because she was embarrassed she wasn’t watching her charges well enough? No matter – like you said in your last post, you are MAGNIFICENT. 🙂

  2. Yes, just like your last post said–you are magnificent. I’m impressed you had the presence of mind to grab her–I might’ve not been so quick-thinking. And you DO belong on the evening news. Was no one else there to see it? (Besides, obviously, the daycare lady who apparently needs another job).

  3. How amazing are you! Wowza!

    And I’m with Julie re: the daycare worker. She didn’t want attention drawn to her lack of attention. You on the news would have meant HER on the news!

  4. Woot woot! And people tend to be rude when they’re embarrassed, so we’re not losing sleep over Senora Day Care Sloth.

    I saved a child from drowning once, which was no small thing when you consider I couldn’t actually swim at the time. No one else was around, so I wasn’t on the news, either.

    Oh, well. I’ll put it in my memoirs.

  5. Wow, scary. My biggest fear is that one of my children will drown. So it’s a big deal. I once saved a boy from drowning in the fountain at the temple. Yep.

  6. I’m glad it was you and not me. I have a feeling I would have been too short and would have ended up falling straight in after her (after attempting the pick up).

  7. Wow! What a WOMAN you are! You rock. Even if the stupid day care lady didn’t speak up. I agree that she was probably mortified! Oh well. Good job to you!

  8. Eeeeek!! Tiny or not, they were sharks all the same! Way to think fast! It’s a shame about the caretaker, but poor kid! wonder if she’ll have a phobia of sharks now……

  9. LOL @ Hel’s comment!!! That’s what I figure would have happened to me, too.

    You are definitely a hero! And I agree with the other comments that believe the day care lady wasn’t all that gracious because she was worried about her job security!!!

  10. Where’s your medal? Seriously, good for you for doing what needed to be done. I’m sure the sea creatures could sense your bravery and stayed away out of respect for you.

  11. Holy cow! That’s terrifying! I wonder if that’s the first time something like that has happened. It seems like a fun but *dangerous* idea, for obvious reasons!

    Way to go, Steph!!!

  12. If I was there I would totally pat you on the back. Since I am not, go a head and do it yourself because: YOU ROCK! I wonder what the little girl told her Mom when she went home that evening…Or, better yet, how the day care worker explained it. I am sure in her version she was right there to the rescue!!! And that folks is why I would never send my child to a day care. NEVER. I have worked at them before. NEVER. Seriously!!!!

  13. HOLY MOLY!!! That would be SO scary! Way to Go, Stephanie, I hope I would be that brave… I cannot believe the lady didn’t say anything to you! I read my kids this story and they LOVED it…… however, they seemed a bit disappointed that no one actually got eaten by a shark!!! just kidding…

  14. Was that picture of the tank there the first time and I just didn’t notice it? (sometimes my cheap internet doesn’t load all the pictures…) Is that the actual tank? Seriously I think there should be a parade in your honor if it is!!!! I had no idea it was THAT big.

    • It’s not quite this big. This was the closest picture I could find on Google Images. It’s a little smaller, and the walls on the side are not as high up, but it’s about the right size of sharks and rays and the area they swim around in. It’s possible I’m a little exaggerated due to PTSD. 🙂

  15. You know sometimes we wonder if when push comes to shove we will be able to be quick on our feet and do what needs to be done. Looks like you aced that one! Good on you for doing what you did. Even though you didn’t get a great reaction from the lady, I think as you read the response here, that we think you did an awesome job!

    (PS when push comes to shove, I have a bad habit of putting my hands on my cheeks and saying “oh no!”…not very useful at all!)

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