Filipino Maid saves toddler from more hurt in Hillview accident

SINGAPORE - Hit by a car, she was thrown 3m by the impact and landed hard on the road.

Despite this, she clung on to the toddler for dear life and refused to let go.

Until she herself blacked out.

Thanks to the maid's heroic action, the 22-month-old toddler, Cienna, escaped with just abrasions.

The maid, Mrs Jeanilyn Quijano, 43, a Filipino, was not as lucky. She had to be hospitalised for head, arm and leg injuries.

The toddler's mother, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Chen, was very grateful to her maid of three years.

"It was only because of her that my girl was only hurt like this," she said.

The New Paper had reported the accident on our front page on Wednesday.

The accident happened on Tuesday at about 4.30pm.

Stepped out and...

Mrs Quijano was taking Cienna home after school and crossing Hillview Avenue outside her employers' condominium The Petals.

She was carrying the toddler and had just stepped onto the low concrete road divider when a silver Mercedes-Benz hit her in the back, she told TNP from her hospital bed at the National University Hospital, where she is warded.

She said that the car's right side-view mirror had hit her back, causing her to fall backwards onto the windshield of the car.

When the car braked, she flew 3m onto the road, but held on to the child until she blacked out.

"I hit the car's windscreen and blacked out for a while," said the maid.

When Mrs Quijano awoke, she immediately thought of the toddler who was no longer with her.

"My first thought was, 'Where's the baby?'" she said.

"I wanted to get up, but people told me not to move."

So she lay on the road helplessly, even though she could hear Cienna crying loudly about 3m away.

An ambulance arrived and took both the maid and the toddler to the hospital.

Mrs Quijano was hospitalised, but Cienna was given outpatient treatment.

The accident has traumatised the toddler.

Said Mrs Chen: "My girl has been crying the whole night. She cannot be left alone and doesn't eat a lot. She is not as lively as before."

Mrs Chen and a few family members have taken leave from work to look after Cienna.

"She wants us to carry her all the time. Which is what we have been doing since last night," she said.

The family visited the maid in hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Are you in pain?

"My heart was in pain when I saw the baby," said Mrs Quijano, referring to Cienna's abrasions.

"She stroked my hand and kept asking me, 'pain?'"

She added that Mrs Chen's six-year-old son had also cried when he saw her at the hospital. Mrs Chen has another son, aged three.

Mrs Quijano was visibly tired and told TNP that she had slept very little on Tuesday night because she kept crying.

"I cannot sleep," said the maid, who has been looking after the toddler since birth.

"I blame myself (for the accident), last night I kept crying."

The driver of the car, Mr Chua, who is in his 30s, had previously told TNP that the maid had been on the phone and had dashed across the road when the accident happened.

But Mrs Chen adamantly holds that this is not true.

She said that she had spoken to the security guard of The Petals, who had witnessed the accident.

Mrs Quijano also said that she had not been on the phone.

Said Mrs Chen: "She has worked for us for three years, we know her very well. She will not dash across the road."

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