SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (WKRN) – The lines at Mini’s Cupcakes in Salt Lake City have been out the door since last Thursday because the store’s owner, Leslie Fiet, is being hailed a hero.
Fiet, 44, was in her bakery’s kitchen prepping Valentine’s Day treats on Feb. 4 when she saw an Amber Alert flash on her cellphone.
Fiet, a mother of two sons, said the alert caught her eye because it mentioned a black SUV similar to an SUV she saw parked outside her shop earlier in the day.
“After I got the message I looked out my door and saw the SUV but there was no license plate on the front,” Fiet, who opened Mini’s in 2007, told ABC News. “I went to the other side and saw the license plate and thought, ‘Oh my hell.'”
Sitting inside the black SUV was the focus of the Amber Alert, 3-year-old Bella Martinez. Bella had been left sleeping inside the car by her father, Pedro Martinez, two hours earlier at a convenience store approximately 25 blocks from the bakery.
A woman who approached Martinez for a cigarette at the convenience store got inside his car and drove off with Bella inside.
Fiet said when she saw Bella inside the car through an open window, she knew she had to act.
“My initial thought was to call 911 but then I looked closer and saw Bella was in a tremendous amount of stress, hyperventilating and crying,” Fiet said. “I just dropped my phone and ran out the door.”
“My thought was just to get her out of the car,” she continued. “As I’m diving through the open window I thought, ‘Please don’t shoot me,’ and then I thought, ‘Well if they drive off I’ll be hanging out the window and someone will call 911.'”
Luckily for Fiet and Bella, the suspect, identified by police as 24-year-old Rosealee Maria Key, had already abandoned the SUV.
In a span of what Fiet estimates to be about 30 seconds, she got Bella out of the SUV and safely inside the cupcake shop. Fiet locked the door, only allowing a customer she knew, who was also a nurse, in to help her.
While the customer called 911, Fiet says she read Bella books and gave her a stuffed animal to hold on to.
“I thought about giving her a cupcake but with so many allergies now –- gluten free, dairy free — I didn’t dare give her any food,” Fiet said.
Nearly 45 minutes later, Bella’s parents arrived at Fiet’s store, accompanied by the police chief and their extended family, who had all been out searching for Bella on their own.
“It was a whole lot of thank yous and hugs,” Fiet said of the meeting. “I don’t think you can even talk at that point.”
“The relief of knowing your child is safe and that nothing has happened to her, what else can you say? You’re just in tears,” she said.
Fiat went to work the next morning, thinking it would be a normal work day.
“I’m getting lines and lines and I can’t bake and frost fast enough and I’m like, ‘What is going on?,’” Fiet said. “Then someone said, ‘They said what you did on the radio and said to come down and support you.'”
So many people came to support Fiet’s shop that some of her friends took the day off from their own jobs to help her man the crowds.
In addition to the new customers, flowers, cards and thank you notes have been pouring in from complete strangers.
“People are saying hero which makes me uncomfortable because I don’t feel that way,” she said. “I think of a hero as a firefighter running into a building. I think I have more of an attitude that I’m grateful to have been in a position to be there for Bella.”
Bella’s parents gave Fiet a charm necklace with the date of her abduction and angel wings to say thank you and Fiet hasn’t taken it off.
The suspect in the case surrendered to authorities on Feb. 4. She faces charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and child endangerment.