A mother working at an emergency dispatch center in New Orleans was shocked when she answered a 911 call about an armed robbery at a McDonald’s and realized her 16-year-old daughter was the one pleading for help.
Teri Clark, an assistant operations manager at Orleans Parish Communication District, was helping staff answer 911 calls on October 17 when she heard a familiar voice.
“I was in a state of shock,” Clark told CNN affiliate WDSU of the moment she heard her daughter, Tenia Hill, an employee at the restaurant, on the other end of the line.
“She said, ‘McDonald’s,’ so I’m saying what is your location at McDonald’s? ‘It’s me, Tenia … on Claiborne … Mama, help!” Clark said her daughter told her.
Tenia told her mother an armed woman entered the McDonald’s and proceeded to lock her and other staff members in the freezer, according to WDSU, which obtained a recording of the call and surveillance video from the restaurant.
“Mama, please hurry up, she got a gun,” Tenia said on the 911 call.
“We’re going to hurry. Give me a description,” her mother replied.
“What broke me down was when my child said, ‘We’re in the freezer.’ And I said, ‘The freezer?’ … While I was taking the call, tears coming down my face, but I am still trying to do my job,” the mother told WDSU.
Through it all, Clark was able to keep her daughter calm and get police to the restaurant.
“I didn’t want my mom to have to bury her youngest child. So, knowing that I could have lost my life, but she still saved my life. I was very happy,” Tenia told WDSU.
Tyrell Morris, executive director of the communication district, praised Clark’s demeanor during such a stressful situation.
“Teri Clark is a shining example of what our 911 heroes in New Orleans and across the nation do every day. We answer each and every call with passion, purpose and professionalism, even when it is our own family,” Morris said in a statement to CNN.