Patrick Ray and 2-year-old Bexley have quite the special friendship—but how they met is every mother’s worst nightmare.
A year ago on July 26, Bexley was playing with her siblings in their swimming pool at home with their mom, Tammy Norvell. After they were done in the pool, mom went to put them in bed for a nap. That’s when she saw Bexley’s lips.
It wasn’t cold out, and Bexley wasn’t shivering, but still her lips were dark blue. Then she collapsed.
“She went completely limp,” Tammy recalled. “It was more than falling asleep. She just collapsed. I looked in her eyes and she was so distant. We had no clue she had swallowed anything.”
What she didn’t realize was that the 2-year-old had somehow swallowed a penny and couldn’t breathe.
She screamed for Bexley’s father to call 911. Dispatch sent out the alarm, and Ray, who was on his lunch break, responded to the call. He arrived to find Tammy holding the choking toddler. According to his body cam, Ray was able to save little Bexley in 27 seconds.
“When I looked at her, I just saw these big blue eyes looking at me. It was almost like she was telling me, ‘I know you’re here to help me,'” Ray said.
“I heard [Ray’s] siren and ran out the front door,” said Tammy. “He’s grabbing her from me and is trying to pry her mouth open with two hands. He did the finger sweep into her esophagus and a penny dropped down into it. That’s when we heard the most beautiful sound of her squeaking and coughing and crying.”
Over a year has gone by, and Ray and Bexley have only gotten closer.
“We saw them for Thanksgiving, we had Christmas together, he came to my kids’ parties,” said Tammy. “I feel that I have no words, even after a year. I hold [police officers] in high regard, but there’s no way to repay [Ray]. I want to portray that image, that they have a softer side. If we can change one person’s image of police officers, then the world can only be better.”
That’s when Bexley decided to invite Ray to a very special occasion…her tea party!
Lucky for us, the cameras were rolling so rather than imagining how cute the two were, we actually get to see:
“It was something that I just couldn’t turn down because I knew it was going to be really special for her mom and Bexley,” Ray told ABC News.
“I have two boys, so I don’t get to do that type of stuff you do with a little girl. She’s a sweetheart. She’s my best friend.”
See more special moments from Ray and Bexley’s adorable tea party in the Inside Edition video below:
**This story originally appeared on Faitht.com on July 29, 2016.