'Samaritan' who found Na'illa lives up to his famous name

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER "I just did what I hope somebody would do for my child if my child was in that situation," said Nelson Mandela Myers, who will receive a $10,000 reward for finding the 5-year-old.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER "I just did what I hope somebody would do for my child if my child was in that situation," said Nelson Mandela Myers, who will receive a $10,000 reward for finding the 5-year-old.
Posted: January 17, 2013

HER VOICE WAS so small and broken that at first, Nelson Mandela Myers thought it was the meow of a cat.

But as Myers, a 27-year-old foster father of two, walked closer to the sound in the dark, damp early-morning hours on Tuesday, he could make out the one word the voice was repeating over and over again: "Help!"

"When I heard that, that's what made me look towards the playground," he said at a news conference at the Upper Darby Police Station. "When I seen her under the slide, I was shocked because she was the only one in there and she was by herself and most of all, with just a shirt on."

Myers, a sanitation worker who lives in Upper Darby but works six days a week in Norristown, called the little girl to him. He took off his jacket, put it around her and thought of his own 5-year-old foster daughter, who is about the same size.

"I just kept rubbing her because she was so cold and I was telling her, 'It's going to be OK,' " said Myers, who found the child at 4:40 a.m.

He called 9-1-1, but wasn't immediately able to give the operator the child's name because the girl was so cold, her shivers made it hard to understand her voice.

It was only when police arrived at the Upper Darby playground, which Myers passes every day on his way to catch the train to work, that he learned he'd found the child the whole city was looking for - 5-year-old Na'illa Robinson, who had been abducted from her school the day before.

"The main thing I can say was I'm just glad I was there at the right time," Myers said. "I just did what I hope somebody would do for my child if my child was in that situation."

Late Tuesday, city officials confirmed that Myers would receive a $10,000 reward for finding Robinson. Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood hailed Myers as a "hero" and a "Good Samaritan."

"We were lucky that he went by. We were lucky that he stopped and listened, because we live in a society today where people just keep on walking," Chitwood said. "They don't want to get involved, and he got involved."

Myers' wife, Janie, 25, said her husband's actions did not surprise her. The young couple have been married for three years, and for two of those years, they have been foster parents to 5-year-old Machia and 3-year-old Gary, whom they are trying to adopt.

"It didn't shock me because that's the kind of person he is," Janie Myers said. "He's a wonderful adoptive father. . . . It sounded like his characteristics."


" @FarFarrAway

Blog: PhillyConfidential.com

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