A couple is applauding a group of prison inmates in New Port Richey, Florida, for rescuing their toddler from their accidentally locked SUV. The inmates were on work release, repairing the median in a parking lot outside the local courthouse, where the couple’s SUV was parked at the time.

As they were reportedly low-level offenders, the deputies gave the prisoners permission to use a wire coat hanger to break into the car to rescue the little girl.

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Father accidentally locks toddler in the car

The one-year-old girl’s mother, Shadow Lantry, told ABC Action News that her husband, Joe, was a little absent-minded at the time. He strapped Dallas into her car seat, throwing the keys into the front seat. He then walked around the Chevy Tahoe SUV to the driver’s side, only to find it locked. In fact, all the car’s doors were firmly locked and the toddler was sitting alone in her car seat, calmly sucking on her dummy.

The couple approached the deputies who were supervising the inmates to ask for help. The prisoners immediately offered assistance, and as stated by Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, as the deputies were present, they gave the inmates permission to break into the vehicle. The deputies asked the inmates whether they could break into the car and they confirmed they could.

Toddler was calm during the rescue

Dallas was quiet and patient throughout her ordeal, locked in the car alone.

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It took a few minutes to work on the lock with the wire clothes hanger. As noted by the Huffington Post, video footage was captured by the mother of the whole ordeal, showing a number of inmates in striped uniforms working on the car with the coat hanger, as Dallas looks back at them calmly from her seat inside. When one of the inmates opens the door, the car alarm can be heard, causing Dallas to cry. However, the toddler is fine and well after the ordeal.

The video footage can be viewed here.

Shadow told ABC Action News how grateful she was to everyone that assisted them during the ordeal, adding that she hopes to find out the inmatesidentities so that she could contribute money to their commissary accounts at the prison.

ABC Action News quotes Sheriff Chris Nocco as saying the situation was unique, letting a prison inmate use his ill-gotten skills to break into a car, but it was for all the right reasons.

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Nocco said only a small percentage of criminals want to fight the police and attack them. He said many of them, like the individuals in question, know they have made a bad mistake and the wrong choices and now want to do the right things in life.

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