Cindy and Harold Himel enjoy having their kids close. Two of their four grown children are their closest neighbors in White Castle, Louisiana, south of Baton Rouge, where the Mississippi River twists back and forth before it snakes into New Orleans.
The Himels also enjoy spending time with their nine grandchildren, ranging from 8 months to 9 years in age. “They’re so sweet. I love them,” Cindy says. “They always want to come to Grammie’s house.”
One hot Friday afternoon in April, Cindy, her daughter Sherry Gaudet and Sherry’s 2-year-old son, John, were shopping for a communion gift. Grammie Cindy smiles when she describes her grandson John. “He’s a little cutie patootie,” she says. Only on this sunny day, the cutie patootie turned into a little stinker, literally.
Realizing John needed his diaper changed, Sherry borrowed her mother’s keys and took the toddler to Grammie’s 2010 Buick LaCrosse. Sherry then made a decision she soon regretted. She left her purse, cell phone and car keys on the front seat while she changed John’s diaper on the backseat. Once finished, she closed the back door to keep John inside the vehicle, but when she turned toward the front door, the doors were locked.
“You know how fast children are,” Cindy says. John had scrambled over the center console and inadvertently hit the lock button before Sherry could open the other door. She tried to get him to press the unlock button to no avail.
“He was going back and forth in the car, smiling and laughing, but his little cheeks were getting red,” Sherry recalls. “It was so hot. I was scared that he would be in there too long.” Although Sherry knows to never leave a child in an unattended vehicle, she felt she had no choice and ran into the store to get her mother.
“I tried to get 911 on my cell phone but I couldn’t get connected in the store,” Grammie Cindy says. After she got the store to call emergency services, which dispatched a fire truck, she headed outside to the vehicle to be with her daughter and grandson.
Then she remembered OnStar. Cindy called her husband, Harold, who was too far away to get there in a timely manner. He pushed the blue OnStar button in his OnStar-equipped GMC Sierra and explained the situation to an Advisor, who connected to Cindy’s LaCrosse.
It was only because the Himels already had active service plans on both vehicles that OnStar had a connection to Cindy’s vehicle and was able to send a signal to remotely unlock her car doors.*
“Within minutes — it almost seemed like seconds — the car was unlocked,” Cindy says. “The fire department hadn’t even gotten there yet. I just said, ‘Thank you, Lord! Thank you, OnStar!’”
Afterward, a woman who worked for the fire department happened to be in the parking lot, so she canceled the emergency request.
Sherry, then a first-time mother, says that afternoon taught her a valuable lesson. “Now, basically, I never leave my keys,” explains the first-grade teacher and now mother to 1-year-old Ana, too.
Grammie Cindy especially appreciates the added peace of mind OnStar offers. “I’ve got at least one [grandchild] with me almost all the time, either picking them up or taking them somewhere. We live out in the country, so there’s not too much around. If something happens, I can’t just walk somewhere.
“It makes me feel safer than even having a cell phone,” Cindy adds. “Having the peace of mind makes a difference every time I get into my LaCrosse or my husband’s truck. I like it for security. I told my husband, ‘We’re never getting rid of it.’ My husband agrees. It’s an awesome service.”
Don’t get locked out
A quick resolution is crucial when a child is accidentally locked in a vehicle.
- In order for OnStar to provide a service, a connection to the vehicle must already exist, which can only be established by pushing the blue OnStar button inside your vehicle. Push the blue OnStar button to set up your OnStar account today.
- There is nothing like having added peace of mind. As an active OnStar Member, you can be even more prepared by saving the OnStar phone number (1.888.466.7827) in your cell phone and placing your window sticker with the phone number on your car.
- If you bundle the OnStar Safety & Security Plan* with the Remote Access Plan,* you can use your vehicle’s mobile app* to unlock your doors from almost anywhere.