It was an average Saturday morning for the Todd family. That is, it was, until the unthinkable happened.
Michelle and Ted Todd–happily married since 1994–were on their usual grocery run. Brussels sprouts, steaks and cole slaw ingredients for the big game on Sunday, and of course some brisket and Idaho Yukon Gold potatoes. And who could forget Drumsticks ice cream cones for Dylan. All in a Saturday’s work.
But who is Dylan, you ask? Dylan “Chester” Todd was Michelle and Ted’s only child. Their pride and joy. At just fourteen months old, he was already wowing adults with his high IQ scores and the ability to read at a graduate school level. As with most toddlers, what Dylan lacked was common sense.
After Michelle and Ted had gently loaded Dylan, along with the keys, into their car, they resumed packing up the groceries as usual into their 2006 Toyota Corolla. The couple were all smiles, as they had finally seemed to get a failing marriage back on track that morning–thanks in no small part to Dylan.
But then their doors wouldn’t open. The couple repeatedly pulled on the handles, but to no avail. Scanning the entire interior of the sedan, they quickly spotted the culprit. Dylan, always known to engage in practical jokes and gags (and earning the title of “class clown”), had locked the doors. The little jokester had the spirit alive in him as he laughed, his pure joy and happiness easing the concerns of his parents.
By the time the Hillsboro County Fire Department showed up, Dylan was still alive and well. However, they soon found out that they couldn’t manage to get the doors unlocked.
Ted Todd, always tinkering with his possessions and never quite satisfied, had installed a military-grade window system of his own invention on the Corolla. “I guess I might have went a little overboard,” Ted said, sneaking in a wholesome grin. “They should make me a Lieutenant!”
As a result, the firefighters weren’t able to unlock the car doors. To make matters worse, Dylan simply couldn’t stop laughing hysterically the entire time, stressing out the firefighters and serving as a solemn reminder to Ted and Michelle that perhaps this would be the last time they ever hear their darling boy’s signature laugh.
As the firefighters fought and fought, they ultimately resorted to attempting to smash the car windows in. As one might guess, Ted had bullet-proofed those as well.
With the interior being fully airtight and no new oxygen flow for over ten hours, even the low amounts of oxygen required by the average baby can quickly become exhausted. As such, Dylan Todd sadly passed away at 8:36pm that evening.
A private funeral service for friends, family, and VIPs will be held at St. Matthews Cathedral next Sunday from 10am-11pm. My prayers lie with the family, the brave firefighters, and all others affected.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances and an unreasonably early death, perhaps we can take solace in–and maybe even learn a thing or two from–the fact that Dylan died doing what he’d loved–laughing.