RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A 911 dispatcher and a frightened young boy she talked through a scary home invasion met Friday to thank each other.
On first sight, they didn’t say much.
CBS2’s Erica Nochlin was there when the two strangers became fast friends. It’s a story that is Only On 2.
They both tell each other “Hi.” And then a warm embrace.
Dispatcher Diane Howard and 12-year-old Farhan Arshad are now connected. And while they were meeting for the first time, they bonded almost immediately.
They call it a forever bond.
She was on the phone keeping him calm Thursday. He was alone when two men broke into his Riverside home. He hid in the upstairs locked bathroom and then called 911.
The call was frightening and dramatic. “I’m hearing like people trying to open the windows and I see them outside, the blinds are closed,” he said.
Dispatcher Howard says, “OK are you home by yourself?” He tells her “yes.”
She calmly told him if he heard the two men come up the stairs not to talk but she would stay on the phone with him.
Police later apprehended the two suspects.
He asks when the police are getting there and again she calmly tells Farhan they are on the way.
And then the scariest part of the 20-minute phone call. The boy announces to the dispatcher the men have arrived on the second floor. She tells him “OK, don’t talk.”
He stayed calm, cool and collected — beyond his years.
“I can honestly say I’ve never had a call that affected me like this one,” Howard said.
She stayed with him on the phone, reassured him, until police arrived.
And when he lost assurance, she kept him going.
“You’re doing a really, really good job. You’re very, very brave,” she told home.
And then relief for Farhan. Police arrived, arrested the two men and brought him to safety.
In her 17 years as a 911 dispatcher, Howard said this was the only time she had to leave the room after a call.
“I’ll never forget this call. Ever. Because it was scary for both of us. I’ll always remember him. Always,” she says.
“She saved my life. If she wasn’t there, I don’t know if I could stay calm,” he says, matter-of-fact.
So, with flowers, a gift car and a message filled with gratitude, Farhan was finally able to put a face to the voice of his savior.
“You were amazing,” she tells him. And they embrace again — forever friends.
Farhan got a full tour of the dispatch center. And they said they planned to stay in touch.
Howard said she was impressed with Farhan, who handled the situation far better than some adults would.