Pizza Delivery Man Heroically Rescues Freezing Toddler who Snuck Out at 3 AM
“I just tried to do what I could. I assume somebody would do the same for my kids.”
Luckily for one Michigan family and their toddler, Gabe Botello doesn’t deliver just pizzas.
Last month, the father of seven became a bonafide hero after rescuing a runaway toddler and making sure she was delivered home, safe and sound.
Pizza Delivery Man Discovers Toddler Wandering the Streets at 3 am
In the wee hours of a cold winter morning, Botello was in the middle of a pizza run when he first caught a glimpse of a little girl. She was running around a parking lot in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.
While her family slept, the little girl — who police believe to be about 3 years old — had somehow managed to sneak out of her house and ended up on the streets.
Lost and alone.
Botello quickly dropped off his order and went back to find her, but she was gone; a ghost in the night.
“I had people’s food, so I ran to the door and I gave them their food,” Botello told Fox 17. “I went back looking for her [and] I didn’t find her, so I got in my car, I drove around for a minute. I didn’t find her [so] I started pulling into parking lots.”
Thankfully, he refused to give up. He continued searching until he finally found her on a factory loading dock, curled up between two cement blocks. She was freezing, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, diaper, and socks.
Life-Saving Rescue Mission
NEW | This is the spot where a Grand Rapids man found a toddler in a t-shirt, diaper, and socks overnight while delivering pizzas.— Marisa Oberle (@marisa_oberleTV) March 13, 2023
He tells me she was cold and crying – Police believe she accidentally escaped from her house.
Story tonight on @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/4Pds0cYsW0
The pizza delivery man immediately sprang into action. He wrapped her in his hoodie and called 911.
“I had some water in my car, so she was drinking some water and I was just kind of like rubbing her back, letting her know she was okay and she started falling asleep,” said Botello. “She was so just, like, exhausted and cold.”
Police arrived and were able to track down her family, still snuggled in their beds, unaware the girl was missing.
Officers delivered her safely home and no charges were laid.
As a parent, Botello understands how unpredictable kids can be and how quickly things can happen. He feels nothing but compassion for her parents, further proving what a truly great guy he is.
He also doesn’t see himself as a hero. But rather, just a father doing what he hopes someone would do for his own kids.
“I don’t think it was anything purposeful, nobody just lets a little kid out. It’s just sad,” Botello said. “I just tried to do what I could. I assume somebody would do the same for my kids.”
Despite his modesty, Botello’s actions very likely saved the toddler’s life, making him a hero in everyone’s books.
The Importance of Community
The scary reality is that had Botello not come along when he did, the situation could have ended tragically. Thankfully, he was in the right place at the right time. And when he saw a child in need, he didn’t hesitate to help.
It really does take a village.
“Sometimes you want to turn a blind eye but, you just never know [who] you’re saving,” Botello said. “Anybody could have picked up that little girl. In the middle of Ionia and Wealthy is not the best part of Grand Rapids, there’s a lot of foot traffic over there, so, you know, I’m just glad she made it home. I’m glad she’s okay.”
We are too.
There are good people in the world. Botello is one of them. And it was his quick thinking, willingness to help, and compassion that made all the difference for one tiny, vulnerable child.