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March 03, 2020

Transmission Employee’s Compelling Urge to ‘Turn Right’ Reunites Lost Toddler with Family

Quite often there’s nothing louder than the quiet inner voice that compels one to break routine.

Rosie Palacios clearly heard it on an ordinary drive to the Lon Hill Service Center in Corpus Christi, and followed her instincts. And just the simple act of turning this way instead of that way, a zig instead of a zag, brought a cold, frightened little boy back to his family and gives us a great example of how American Electric Power employees weave Mutual Care into every aspect of their lives.

“I heard ‘turn right.’ Something told me to go down a road I never take on the way to work,” said Palacios, an administrative assistant with the Technical Services team at Lon Hill, who had just dropped her daughter off at school the morning of January 24. As she drove a few blocks on Haven Drive, a well-travelled road on a school day, she noticed a little boy wandering in the road. Just two years old, he was in his pajamas, walking a wet road and every bit lost.

Palacios immediately pulled over and stopped, doing her best to talk to the boy.

“He was cold and shaking, so he couldn’t really say anything, other than to indicate he was clearly looking for his mother,” Palacios said, noting that the boy’s hair was wet from what looked like a recent bath, his socks were soaked and the temperature was in the mid-50s that morning after raining the night before. “I tried to get him to tell me or show me where he lived, but he couldn’t.”

By then, another woman had stopped and helped Palacios wrap up in something warm, and together they put the boy safely in the back seat of the woman’s car. With him warm and safe, they called the police and then took turns canvassing the neighborhood, looking for anyone who could indicate this little boy’s home.

With the police having arrived, and with the help of nearby homeowner, they eventually located the boy’s home several houses away from where Palacios initially pulled over, some 30 minutes after stopping. His mother had left for work earlier, and in doing so, left the door unlocked. His grandmother, who usually watches him, was feeling ill, and with the boy’s older sister distracted, he managed to open the door and wander away, all in an attempt to find his mother.

“I just thank the Lord he made it home safely and that he hadn’t been out any longer,” said Palacios. “I just did what anyone would do. It just touches you differently when it’s an ‘innocent,’ a helpless little one.”

What anyone would do? Yes, perhaps. But in her story, Palacios gives us more than a Good Catch. It’s an act that tosses the spotlight on the AEP culture, a family that aspires to demonstrate the very best of that culture no matter where the day leads. Looking out for one another, selflessness, a commitment to Zero Harm – elements not defined by work and home boundaries. It’s living a fervent belief in Mutual Care at every turn, including, quite literally, a right one, down a road not usually travelled — something not lost on her colleagues at Lon Hill.

“We’re very happy she chose that way to work, and very proud of Rosie’s quick thinking and the Good Samaritan efforts she brought to this boy’s successful return home,” said Station Tech Services Manager Frank Karr, her former supervisor with whom she was in contact during the event. “It’s a great glimpse into who Rosie is, and how she lives the best of who we aspire to be wherever she might be.”

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