Editor’s note: The original version of this story gave the impression this incident took place at Walt Disney World Resort, which is not correct. This incident took place at a hotel in Orlando and not on Walt Disney World property. We apologize for the confusion.
MAYHILL, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico teen’s vacation to Orlando turned into a rescue mission when she saved a young girl’s life.
Thirteen-year-old Kaydence Henslee, of Mayhill, was on spring break in Orlando, Florida with her family enjoying some time at the pool when she saw a toddler floating face down in the deep end.
“I was scared and nervous and afraid, but my instincts kicked in,” Kaydence said.
“I just saw her kind of floating,” Kaydence recalled. “She wasn’t technically on the bottom when I was there. When I pulled her out, her lip was purple.”
The child was later identified as 3-year-old Haven Williams from Missouri. Haven’s mother, Ashley Williams, said she stepped away from the pool for just a couple of minutes. “I just remember seeing another woman run across and yell into the bar area for someone to call 911 because a baby had just drowned,” Ashley said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I didn’t think it was my baby.”
Ashley said it finally clicked when she recognized her daughter’s swimsuit. “I just pushed through the crowd,” Ashley said. “I felt that feeling of losing my child.”
A bystander performed CPR and Haven was rushed to the hospital that Saturday afternoon. Haven did not fully recover until 5 a.m. the next morning.
“Even the doctors are saying that whoever got her out of the water did it at a perfect time because if she would have been under the water a little longer, it would have been a different outcome,” Ashley said.
Kaydence’s dad, Matt Henslee, said the families swapped information so they could stay in touch. They shared photos with each other on Easter, and Kaydence sent Haven a friendship necklace ahead of Haven’s fourth birthday. “The fact that they can still celebrate a birthday this week, celebrate Easter and all the other holidays and see them grow up and maybe even have lifelong friends from New Mexico to their state,” Matt said.
Haven’s mom said her daughter would not be here if it wasn’t for Kaydence. “I knew it was the right thing to do to help someone out,” Kaydence said.
Haven’s mom said she works at a children’s hospital in Missouri and sees tragedies all the time, but she never thought something like this would happen to her. She said she is thankful for Kaydence’s quick thinking. Kaydence said she is getting CPR trained this weekend.