Five-year-old helps great-grandfather receive medical attention

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A 5-year-old Homewood girl is being called a hero tonight by her family after she helped get medical attention for her grandfather during a pancreatic attack.

Gracie Mills is smiling now, but on Saturday night at the Alabama Theater she was worried when her great-grandfather Bill Thompson suffered a series of what he calls pancreatic attacks during a movie.

"I had another one, and we struggled on out and got in the car and I was planning on coming home, but I just didn't think I could make it," Thompson said.

"Papa," as he's known to Gracie, struggled to drive towards St. Vincent's for help, and that's when Gracie picked up his cell phone.

"She called me on the phone, and very calmly said Papa was sick," said Gracie's great-grandmother Virginia Thompson. "Well, I could hear him moaning in the background. And I said 'Where are you?' She said 'We're in the car, we just left the movie and Papa was sick in the movie, but we've left and we're in the car and we're going to the hospital."

"When I got there, there wasn't anybody around," Bill Thompson said. "So I was gonna get out and go in, and I got out of the car and I couldn't hardly stand up and I got down on my knees and put my elbows up on the side of the van and told Gracie to see if she could find somebody."

Thompson says Gracie laid on the horn until hospital workers came out to see what was going on.

"So when they came out of the ambulance entrance they couldn't see me because I was on the other side of the car on my knees, so she got them and told them to come over there, that I was sick and they needed to get me inside," Thompson said.

"She told her grandmother that Papa was on his knees praying, she thought he was praying," Virginia Thompson said. "She said, 'He told me to blow the horn, so I blew the horn,' and she was proud of that as anything. She was a brave little girl. Now she's afraid of ya'll, but she was not shy about getting him help."

Now Gracie is being hailed as a hero, and her papa is heading home from the hospital soon.

"I don't know what I'd do without that baby," Bill Thompson said. "She takes care of me."

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