Home > Paige's Favorites, Parenting > Escalator Gymnastics Saved My Son’s Life

Escalator Gymnastics Saved My Son’s Life

I have consumed the obligatory glasses of wine to recover from the adrenaline rushes of yesterday.  But I did promise to share the story of my escalator gymnastics…

When my son was three years old and my daughter was three months old, we planned a trip to Disneyworld with another family.  As we headed towards security, my husband went into frequent flier mode.  You put my  best friend and better half in an airport and he’s all business, even on a trip for pleasure.  We had decided he would be in charge of my son and I would take the baby (who was strapped to my chest) and the diaper back pack.  To reach security in our airport, you must go up an escalator.  My husband was two car lengths ahead of me as we approached the escalators.  With potentially crippling fear, I realized that while my husband was stepping onto the escalator, my son, wearing a toy-filled backpack, was about 6 steps behind him.  I screamed to my husband to take our son’s hand, but it was too late.  My sweet boy, in an attempt to keep up with daddy, tried to step onto the escalator, by himself, for the first time. 

I could see him hesitate and waver.  All of my internal alarms went off and time slowed to a crawl.  My husband looked like a statue and I knew he was merely a false sense of help at that moment.  As the steps started to ascend, I could see that my sweet pumpkin’s feet were on the very edge of a step and he was teetering.  All that went through my head was that he was going backwards and his head was going to smack the metal grates.

I sprinted. I dove.  I think God may have picked me up and carried me, it was all a blur.  I threw myself forward with my right hand extended and caught my son’s head two inches above the grates.  But it’s not over yet, remember my baby strapped to my chest?

I knew that my forward momentum would send her face first into the same predicament.  While maintaining the hold on my son’s precious head, I kicked my legs out from under me and threw myself backwards.  I put up my left arm to block my daughter’s head as I slammed against the side of the STILL MOVING ESCALATOR.  As I fell backwards the diaper backpack kept my head from a similar fate that I had just avoided for my son.  My girlfriend rushed up behind me and held my head up as I rode up the escalator on my back, legs in the air, baby strapped to my chest, holding my son’s head above menacing metal spikes.

I am staring at my statue, I mean my husband, and see a flash out of the corner of my eye.  A man behind my girlfriend dropped his bag, sprinted the stairs, ran down the escalator, pushed past my frozen husband and pulled my children and I up. 

The next few seconds are a blur but it seems airport personnel were there in an instant.  They had stopped the escalator (a little late fellas) and had summoned the paramedics.  (Taking a breath because after three years I still choke up when I say or write paramedics.) 

They responded quickly to check me and my children out.  I told them my son was fine, I had caught him, but my daughter was crying and had a small bruise on her forehead.  Although my arm took most of her impact, she did hit the glass.  “Ma’am, we’re going to check you all out, but we have an ambulance waiting downstairs.”  At this point, I am wondering if I did the right thing.  I didn’t see what other choice I had at that moment.  I told the paramedics, “We’re on a way to Disneyworld, but if you have the slightest hesitation, we are getting in that ambulance”.

Fortunately, everyone checked out fine.  My daughter had stopped crying and showed no signs of trauma and my son and I had escaped even a scratch.  We were cleared to fly.  As we walked through the terminal, people were pointing at me and whispering. 

I was whispering too, “Thank you God”.

  1. KLZ
    January 7, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Holy crap. It’s amazing what motherhood makes you capable of.

    • January 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

      KLZ – I wil never know how I pulled that off except to say that a divine force intervened!

  2. January 7, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Wow! It’s amazing what lengths we moms will go to in order to protect our babies. Glad everything turned out the way it did. Hugs, Diane

    • January 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

      Diane – I was a lucky girl that day! Moms really can be superhuman when need be.

  3. The Mom Next door
    January 7, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I love this story… amazing what a Mom can do to save their loved ones… Husband … is still not allowed near esclators… OHHH did I fail to mention that your husband ruined my children with escalators due to this incident??????????????

    • January 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

      Stace – you held my head like a champ! I’ll pay for your daughter’s therapy.

  4. January 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Good lord, lightning reflexes woman!

    Things like this cause my stomach to ache.

    We all have stories like these.

    And they ALL make my stomach ache.


    • January 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

      Lori – You will be more shocked when you meet me in person and I trip over a chair! #Iamnotathletic

  5. Val
    January 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    You are an amazing woman and have some impressive motherly instincts! As much as I would like to hope I do too, I don’t think I could have pulled that off!

    • January 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Val – I belive every mother has superpowers when she needs them most. The rest of the time I am a clumsy fool.

  6. January 7, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Holy crap! That is an amazing story – my mouth had dropped open. Reminds me of those old stories you hear about mommies lifting cars to save thier child. You were like a real life superhero – love it!!!

    • January 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      After experiencing this day, I totally get how moms lift cars!!

  7. Jason
    January 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Simple, you have catlike reflexes, and your husband moves slowly. None of this story surprises me. Entertaining for sure, but not surprising! This is also why kids are made of rubber until they are 4….I think.

    • January 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Jason – In Chris’ defense, he was afraid if he tried to help D from above, he would know him over. I basically had to Morganize my own child, ya know, just slide underneath as they’re falling…

  8. January 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Yes, Holy Crap is right! I had my hand clamped across my mouth through the whole post.
    And I’m a bit in awe of you superpowers. I couldn’t have done what you did. You sure I can’t hire you to be my guardian angel?

    • January 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Mads – when you meet me, you’ll realize, I am no superhero. And we have already established I am no athlete. I think mom’s in crisis pull off amazing things!

  9. January 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    holy crap! superhero is right! you need a cape. and a superhero name.

    • January 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Tara, I am just glad you didn’t say tights! I am sorry I didn’t get to visit with you yesterday!!!

  10. January 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm


    I have had a few moments myself of where a miracle occurred because I saw An Event unfolding in seeming slow motion and somehow was able to react in time – like view my children executing a back dive from High Place and catching them 2 inches or less from the hard floor.

    Sadly, there have also been times I have stood by, horrified, because I knew there was no way to intervene in time.

    I’m so glad you escaped unscathed and hopefully enjoyed Disney World.

    • January 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Kelly – Disney World was great, but there is one more post from that trip. When we lost my son… Another Mama Bear moment! Love the last minute catches!

  11. January 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm


    This sort of story makes my stomach hurt. Shudders of sympathetic horror.

    But then such joy that you were able to be more than you thought you could be in that moment. To save your son. To keep your daughter out of harm’s way. To be there for them.

    Happy sighs at such unthinking heroism.


    • January 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Kris. It’s the only time where my lack of thinking paid off! I have to say, I was proud and shocked by the outcome!

  12. January 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Oh my god, Paige!!

    So glad everything turned out okay. It’s amazing what we can do in the blink of an eye when it comes to our children’s safety, isn’t it? And…I just have to say, how come our husbands don’t see the danger that we do?

    Anyway, you are quite the superwoman with mad escalator gymnastic skills!

    It was so wonderful meeting you yesterday in Napa! Hope to see you again sometime:)

    • January 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Melissa – I think my husband is great at everything EXCEPT emergencies! I tell myslef, he’ll pull through when I’m not there… So glad to have met you yesterday!!!!

  13. January 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

    My heart goes for you with this story. I feel like I was there, I didn’t realize I was holding my breath the whole time I was reading this. I think this is proven that us – woman – react faster when it comes to our child. I’m not saying men or father doesn’t care, their brain just react differently.
    Few years ago, we almost lost our daughter and she was literaly turning blue. I was already at work and my mom and my sister was there visiting. Thank God for the, because as my Mom performing CPR, my husband was running outside confused and my sister have to call 911 and he still too confused and too much in shock to do anything.

    • January 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Oh my gosh Sendie! I am glad you had all your female family members to get things done!

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