CHICAGO - A man has been dubbed a "hero" for rescuing a 7-year-old girl wandering the streets of Englewood in freezing temperatures Wednesday.
Tony Taylor was walking on 59th Street near Halsted when he spotted the coatless girl, according to publicist Sean Howard. He immediately got her out of the cold and called 911.
Chicago police said the 46-year-old found the girl at 5 p.m., alone and without shoes. The girl told police she had left home.
Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th) called Taylor a hero.
"This is a terrifying scenario that could have been worse," Coleman said in a statement.
The girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital for evaluation and placed in protective custody, police said. Taylor kept the girl company for five hours at the hospital, Howard said.
The Department of Children and Family Services was called to investigate, police said.
At a news conference, Howard awarded Taylor with a free airplane tickets to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Coleman and activist Early Walker awarded him a stay at a five-star hotel there.
Coleman, Walker and Howard made a plea for the girl’s parents to come forward and be questioned by child welfare investigators.
"This little girl could have been the victim of a kidnapping, sexual assault or even death due to the weather," Walker said in a statement. "But God sent an angel in Tony Taylor so that we would not be talking about a tragedy today."