(NEW YORK POST) — A quick-thinking 8-year-old boy from the UK won a “Pride of Britain” award this week for taking control of a car and steering it to safety when his mother had a seizure at the wheel.
Ben Hedger’s instincts kicked in after his mom, Lauren Smith, suddenly fell ill last December while driving him home from school in her Ford Ka, the UK Mirror reported last week.
“I was 10 out of 10 scared,” the boy told the outlet.
Ben described asking his mom a question and waving his hand in front of her face when she didn’t answer.
Then, “the car hit the barrier and was shaking as we were scraping it,” he said.
“When mum completely passed out I got the steering wheel.”
The boy drove some two miles at approximately 60 mph, then was able to put the hazard lights on and steer onto a grass verge where the vehicle came to a stop.
His mom, a 28-year-old schoolteacher, was out for about a half hour and doesn’t remember much of the “weird” and “really scary” incident,” she said.
“I woke up and tried to start the car because, to me, it felt like a split second, so I thought I was still driving,” Smith said.
“The paramedics drilled it into me that it was because of what Ben did [that we didn’t get hurt],” she added. “I specifically remember one of the paramedics saying they were adamant that it would have been a different story if he didn’t do what he did.”
Ben and his mom attended the Pride of Britain Awards in London Monday night. He didn’t realize he’d won the “Child of Courage” trophy until former One Direction member Liam Payne handed it to him, Smith said.
“Liam told him he had won the award [and] got out a golden envelope,” Smith said. “Ben just burst out crying.”
“He was so happy and overwhelmed. He had the shock of Liam Payne and now he had the shock of winning an award.”