Courageous Teen Scales Fence To Save Drowning Toddler: ‘She’s Not Dying On My Hands’

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Whoever says teens these days are too obsessed with their phones to pay attention to the real world has never met Haylei McGillis.

The Indianapolis teen told Fox 59 that she was walking by an apartment complex Sunday when she noticed some children playing in the courtyard near a swimming pool. She looked away for a moment, and when she looked back, she realized something was very, very wrong.

A 3-year-old was in the pool even though it was closed for the day, and no lifeguard was on duty. Her friends were throwing a hose into the water to try to rescue her, but it wasn’t working.

McGillis knew she had to do something.

“She’s not dying on my hands,” the 13-year-old said, “so I was just jumping in the water.”

McGillis quickly scaled the fence and hopped into the pool, helping the toddler out of the water. After the little girl was poolside, McGillis said she coughed up water — but, miraculously, she was otherwise unharmed.

See how McGillis’ mom reacted to her daughter’s heroic actions…

Footage provided by WXIN Indianapolis

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