Pedro Bernardo, York Regional Police Service

February 22, 2021 was my first day back to work after a very short three-month maternity leave. I was already anxious when I left the house with my son William to go to my office to pick up my laptop. I left the house at around 5:00 am, full of thoughts of “can I do this?” and “am I a bad mum?”... and then the snow storm hit. By this point, I was closer to civilization and plowed roads, so I decided to keep going because at least I’d be in well travelled areas. Although dicey, and only going 40km/h at times, I made it to work and one of my colleagues delivered my things to me outside as I was not permitted in the building per COVID protocols.

By this time, William had been in the car for three hours. He started to cry. I climbed into the backseat to try and feed him with no success. Frustrated I started driving back towards the highway with a screaming three-month old. I broke down in tears and felt like a huge failure. Exasperated, I somehow thought to call the police detachment, YRP 2 Division, up the road. An amazing constable answered and I blurted out that I needed to feed and change my baby and I needed a bathroom. The building was closed to the public, but without hesitation he said “I’ll meet you outside. Park anywhere. I got you.”

He met me outside, showed me to a quiet room and helped me with my things. He watched the baby, so I could go to the bathroom and offered me a drink. He told me he had a young child of his own and understood, and I was doing a great job and he can tell I’m a good mum. After an hour, William had become the unofficial mascot of the station and made lots of new friends. We were helped out and given a warm goodbye and told to come back and visit. Cst. Bernardo had no idea that days before I had become a single mother, and that I was terrified about how my and my son's life were going to unfold. He saved my life that day in more ways than one. I will forever be grateful for him for being there on one of the toughest days I’ve ever had.