With tears in their eyes and hearts full of gratitude, two Brooklyn parents embraced a fleet of NYPD officers during an emotional reunion one week after the cops rode their horses to the rescue of their son, saving his life.
Father Vladimir Lempert dubbed the cops of Brooklyn’s NYPD mounted unit — which patrols the borough on horseback — a “gift from God” as he brought his family to meet both the two-legged and four-legged heroes alike.
“Can I give you a hug?” Lempert asked before clutching onto the officers’ uniforms with both hands. “Thank you, thank you,” he repeated.
Brooklyn parents embraced the members of the NYPD mounted unit who helped save their son earlier this month. Photo by Dean Moses The family gets up close and personal with one of the hero horses. Photo by Dean Moses
The emotional reunion came almost one week after the terrifying moment Lempert thought he would lose his son, Albert. Lempert was taking Albert out to buy arts and crafts supplies in Borough Park on Dec. 1 when the young boy, who has special needs, suddenly jumped from the back of the car while the vehicle was parked at 40th Street and 13th Avenue.
“I pulled over, and the car’s doors unlocked automatically. In that second, he just jumped out of the car — I was so shocked,” Lempert told amNewYork Metro.
The father then gave chase to his son, rushing after him through traffic while pleading for someone to intervene. Pushing his body, Lempert said he almost managed to grab Albert, but the boy outpaced him.
“He was gaining distance and I did not feel enough air in my lungs to just keep running,” Lempert said. “In my head, it was like I failed to catch my son and I don’t know what’s going to happen to him. In my head, I was thinking, I just need help and then they came in like angels.”
Lempert said the officers moved swiftly, like shadows, as they seemingly appeared out of thin air. Acting quickly, Police Officer Thomas Schmeltzer and Detective Amy Suarez rode in front of Albert, stopping him and saving him from traffic.
“We noticed somebody chasing after a child. Once we realized the situation, we did bring our horses up to a canter which is slower than a gallop but it’s pretty quick,” said Schmeltzer, “and we were able to basically cut in front of the child and stop him safely.”
For Lempert, in that moment, both cops were miracles on four legs — saviors, he said, sent from the heavens. Panting heavily, Lempert thanked the officers but could not simply leave it there. A week later, he visited the NYPD stables, bearing gifts for the human and horse rescuers.
“We don’t need recognition,” Suarez said. “I’m just happy that we were able to help out the family and put a smile on their face because you know, things could always be worse.”
Though the officers were reluctant to accept the praise, their equine counterparts were happy to be hand-fed treats, brought by Albert and his family.
The cops also had gifts for the Lempert family: Commanding Officer Barry Gelbman presented them NYPD patches and a challenge coin, telling them they had made friends for life.
“I’m so happy they were there at the right time, you know,” Lempert said. “Not a minute late, just right that second.”