PRESENCE OF MIND: Lesson Learned from Daring Self-Rescue by a 7-year-old Erica Pratt

Presence of Mind: Erica Pratt

It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies
that the native metal of man is tested.
– James Russell Lowell, An American Romantic


from 2002 – I Can
by Nasir Jones aka Nas
(lyrics version)


I have 21 years in the Police Department,
and I have never seen this kind of heroic act
of bravery committed by a 7-year-old.
– Philadelphia Police Inspector William Colarulo,

Presence of Mind
written by Kendall F. Person

inspired by Erica Pratt
in support of James Vinson III

You are driving along a rain slicked highway in the dark of night, making visibility near zero. In the distance, you notice the bright blinking lights of the overhead sign and you assume it will read: DRIVE SLOWLY. Or perhaps a severe weather alert, of which you are well aware. But on the approach, the message becomes clear. Your heart skips a beat and with eyes wide open, you say a little prayer: AMBER ALERT. Child abductions are parents’ worst nightmare, and even the thought of a helpless child in the hands of a dangerous stranger is more than enough to rattle our nerves.

Erica Pratt

After the rescue, a smiling 7 year-old Erica Pratt, and the nation smiled back.

On July 22, 2002, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old girl by the name of Erica Pratt was abducted while playing on a neighborhood street. That year, high-profile kidnappings had swept the land leaving the nation on high alert, so the search for little Erica was immediate and intense. Blind-folded, bound and gagged and left in the basement of a vacant building, seven-year-old Erica Pratt refused to become a victim, so she imagined a way out. Gnawing through the duct tape, she freed her tiny hands; no longer constrained, she reasoned upon an exit. Using all of her might, she smashed out a basement window, screamed for help, and ultimately….. saved herself.

“In the end, maybe the best defense you can give your kids [and ourselves] is not a blind fear of [others], but rather instilling self-assurance and presence of mind.” – Mark Coatney, Time Magazine 

The lesson can be applied well beyond what we learned and depending on the situation: presence of mind = keeping your head

— The Neighborhood 

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in a transforming week of awareness

2017 MENTAL HEALTH WEEK, 2nd Annual

*For the entire awareness week experience, please register on Facebook at 2017 Mental Health Week or like The Neighborhood Facebook. Interest in becoming an active participate, shout YES in a comment, whisper sure in a message or INQUIRE by email: Your help is needed, for sure (big smile)

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(Kendall F. Person for The Neighborhood)


Above the CloudsThe Neighborhood exist
above the clouds or not all.

produced & created by Kendall F. Person
2017 Chair, Lisa Troedson, Tenacity Goddess
a cast still unknown.
But we see you. Hope you see us too.

One Comment on “PRESENCE OF MIND: Lesson Learned from Daring Self-Rescue by a 7-year-old Erica Pratt

  1. Moving story, Erica was lucky that her captor didn’t return to check on her but that luck was needed for her to survive. I hope she is still around and still going from strength to strength, she really has grabbed life with both hands xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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