Doctors say they saved his life.
“It was incredibly difficult to breathe. My chest still hurts now from gasping, and you know, I don’t know how much longer I would have had,” Scott Gruber said.
The Gruber family hopes other kids learn how to call 911.
Scott Gruber embraces little moments, like catching frogs by the pond with his family, while he still recovers after the scare of his life Sunday morning.
“It was right over there, where everything’s overgrown,” he shows us. “I was trying to do some clean out.”
Gruber disturbed what he thinks was a nest of bees while gardening.
“Within a minute and a half I was on the ground and really couldn’t move at all, and that’s when the kids took over.”
911 dispatcher: “Brown County 911. Where is your emergency?”
Child: “Hello? My daddy just fell, now he’s passed out, and he just got really dizzy.”
Dispatcher: “OK, is his breathing completely normal? Can you tell?”
Child: “A little bit. He’s breathing really hard.”
Dispatcher: “Is he changing color?”
Child: “No, he’s just a tiny bit pale.”
Dispatcher: “OK, I’m going to help you. You just stay on the line with me, OK?”
That was dispatcher Linda Safford trying to keep 10-year-old Zoe and 8-year-old Mya calm.
Child: “My dad wants the phone.”
Dispatcher: “OK, I’ll talk to him.”
Gruber: “I think it’s a bee sting.”
Dispatcher: “You think it’s a bee sting?”
Gruber: “Yeah. I’m having a hard time breathing.”
Then came 30 seconds of silence.
Dispatcher: “Are you still with me, sir? Hello? He’s not responding anymore.”
“It does kind of, you get it in the feels,” Safford, lead telecommunicator at the Brown County Communications Center, told us.
“It was really scary, because I’ve never really called 911 before and I didn’t know I would ever have to,” 10-year-old Zoe said.
Child: “How much longer until they get here?”
Dispatcher: “Only a few moments.”
Child: “They’re here! They’re here! They’re here!”
“I can’t get adults to answer me as well as they did,” Safford said. “They did a great job! They are heroes. Those little girls… saved their dad’s life.”
That’s what Gruber’s doctors told the girls, too.
“He would have died,” 8-year-old Mya said.
“He would have died if we didn’t call 911, because he said it was hard to breathe, too,” said Zoe.
Gruber has little memory of those ten minutes, but his fitness belt recorded his heart rate through the whole incident. The graph registers when he was barely breathing.
“I just suddenly, right about there, completely went unconscious,” he said, looking at the change in the graph his phone.
“Unfortunately it was one of the most impressive things they ever did but I was unconscious for a lot of it. As a parent, I didn’t even get to see them in action,” Gruber remarked.
Gruber and his wife, Stacey, a doctor herself who was at work, taught the girls how to call 911 a few years ago after watching a news story.
They’re thankful the girls listened.
“You never know as a parent if what you teach your children they’re going to remember, especially in a time of emergency, but I’m amazed and very proud of them,” Stacey Gruber said.
Gruber had no idea he was allergic to bees and is now growing his supply of Epi Pens.
Zoe is learning CPR next month, and both girls plan to teach classmates about 911 at school this fall, hoping others see how critical it is to stay calm and be prepared in emergencies.
“So we saved someone’s life,” Mya said.