A 12-year-old girl from Meriden didn't think twice when she jumped on the back of an armed robber who police said was trying to rob the Tachuelas Grocery Store last month. On Friday, the city honored her for her incredible act of bravery.
The suspects were armed, but Leslie Meza Ruiz said she needed to protect her mom and grandma who worked at the store.
"I just felt like I should have just done something so I can protect my mom and my grandma," Meza Ruiz said.
The community said what the 12-year-old did was amazing.
A video shows an armed robber coming towards her. He grabs something and that's when Meza Ruiz jumped on his back.
"I didn't even know. It just happened so fast so I just did what I had to do," she said.
She was trying to protect her mom and grandma who were injured in the scuffle. Police said Meza Ruiz's mom was stabbed in the arm and her grandma had a serious injury to her face.
"You don't have a badge, but you have just as much bravery and just as much courage as everyone in our department," Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said.
Meriden's mayor, police force and community honored Meza Ruiz and declared Monday Leslie Meza Ruiz Day. She was given free dance lessons for a year, karate classes for life, donations from stores and even a day of pampering from the local Rotary Club.
"Something like that, I've never seen before. I've never heard anything like it," said Sgt. Christopher Fry of the Meriden Police Department.
Sgt. Fry said the Meriden Police Union donated $500.
"I have one beautiful daughter, a strong daughter," Meza Ruiz's mom, Yesenia Ruiz said.
But even the bravest have tears and these are grateful ones that her family is ok.
"Yeah, thanks to God," Meza Ruiz said.
She's also thankful for the community support. For this community hero, the sky is limitless.
"I want to be the president, but at the same time, I don't know," Meza Ruiz said.