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A Utah cupcake-shop owner is getting a sweet reception from customers after saving a child who'd been reported missing.
Feb. 4 had been a pretty typical day at Mini's Cupcakes in Salt Lake City, where owner Leslie Fiet was baking goodies and on the verge of wrapping her shift. But all that changed when her cell phone buzzed with an Amber Alert, signifying a statewide search for a child, involving a black SUV. She remembered having seen a black SUV sticking out in the shop's shared parking lot, and went out to compare the license plate with the one listed in the Amber Alert.
That's when she made the shocking discovery that would help her save a little girl's life.
"The license plate matches, and at that moment, your [heart] sort of drops to the ground," Fiet, a mother of two, told TODAY.com. "And you're like, 'Oh, my gosh! This is the car!'"
Inside the black SUV was 3-year-old Bella Martinez — the child whose disappearance had prompted the Amber Alert. Police say Bella's father, Pedro, had stepped into a convenience store earlier that afternoon, when someone stole his black SUV and drove it about 6 miles to the cupcake shop's parking lot, where it was abandoned.
Fiet was going to call 911 right away, but when she saw that the toddler was hysterically crying inside the car, her first priority was to grab a "hyperventilating" Bella from the vehicle. "I just dropped my phone, ran out the door, and dove in through the [passenger's side] window," she recalled. "I'm thinking I'm not going to grab the door, because if somebody's [in the driver's side], they might try to drive away. My whole reaction is just to grab the child: get her in [the shop], so she can be safe."
Fiet said she initially didn't know that the suspect had abandoned the vehicle, and fought hypothetical fears that someone might attack her as she tried to save the baby. But with no driver present, she was able to snatch Bella from a car seat, race inside the shop, and lock the door, where she called 911.
"At that point, all I was thinking about was trying to calm Bella down as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of stress that she was under," added Fiet, who gave Bella a Care Bears toy and read her a "Puss in Boots" book while waiting for emergency personnel and the child's parents to arrive. "I had Bella calmed down probably within five minutes. She just wanted her mom and wanted her dad."
A plain-clothes officer arrived first, followed by the girl's family. "Bella's parents were there within 30 or 45 minutes after that," she added. "[There was] that utter look of relief on their faces. You don't believe it until you know your child is in your arms."
The suspect who allegedly stole and abandoned the SUV, Rosealee Maria Key, was arrested the same day, according to KSL.com.
But the story doesn't end there. The next day, when word spread that Fiet had saved the day, fans from Salt Lake City and as far as Nevada showed up at her shop. Customers formed a line that spilled well beyond the front door that she'd locked and guarded just hours earlier. "I was like, 'What is going on?'" she said. "Then I found out that a local radio station had said, 'Go down to Mini's and show your support.' Honestly, I couldn't bake and frost fast enough for people coming in."
Now, it's her friends who are offering help, assisting with the suddenly surging shop, whose valuables had been cleaned out during two recent break-ins — one right before Christmas, and another in late January. Although Fiet said she didn't take her recent risk to improve her karma, it couldn't hurt.
"I think a very small portion of the population ever gets to experience that true, literally unselfish act of helping another individual, regardless of the risk," she said. "It's very humbling to be in that position."
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