Suddenly a car pulls up in the driveway with at least three males inside that Ashley doesn't recognize. Shortly after that, the 11-year-old hears a few knocks, then breaking glass. That's when Ashley runs upstairs to her bedroom, hides in the closet and makes a desperate phone call to 911.
Then Ashley's worst possible fear: The burglars make their way up the stairs, then bust open Ashley's door. Now a petrified child is face to face with a dangerous crew. Ashley can think of only one thing to do: plead for her life. Ashley is frozen with fear; 911 dispatchers are horrified at the prospect of what could happen next.
But if the intruders ever intended to hurt young Ashley, they decided against it, to everyone's relief.
"When they saw me, the man who saw me said 'Run' to everybody that was in there," said Ashley afterward.
Ashley was spared any physical harm. The burglars left the house just before cops arrived. But even having just endured the most horrifying experience, this young sweet soul was worried about someone other than herself.
Ashley: "Can you please not let my parents go to jail or anything?"
911 operator: "Why are they gonna go to jail?"
Ashley: "because I'm home alone."
It turns out Ashley's mom just ran to the grocery store for a few minutes, and the only people that may be going to jail are the three greedy Grinches who police say stole $13,000 worth of gifts from Ashley's house. They were finally nabbed after smashing a stolen car. It was Ashley's precise description that led cops to the bad guys.
For Ashley, survival became a matter of growing up fast.
"I felt like going to tears but I said I have to relax because I know that I'm going to be safe and I know that they're going to protect me," said Ashley Bermudez.
Ashley's story impressed the entire neighborhood. Good Samaritans came bearing gifts to replace the stolen presents.
What does Ashley think of all the attention?
"I'm very thankful and very happy that there's nice people out there," said Ashley.