ST. PETERSBURG ó Four-year-old DíMitri Shelby did not want to get his shots.
Community Health Centers of Pinellas medical assistant Myranda Monroe is used to that ó and after a 15-year career and two children of her own, she knew just what to do: a special mix of "magic tricks," "painting" and big hugs.
"Whatever age my patient is, I become that age," said the 40-year-old from St. Petersburg. "If heís 4, Iím 4."
Impressed by Monroeís set of distractions, DíMitriís grandmother Tiffany Marshall began recording the appointment on her smartphone. She knew her family back in New Orleans would chuckle at her grandsonís assertions he "did not crah" (cry) ó what she didnít realize was that the rest of the world would, too.
The video has gone beyond viral, thrusting Monroe and her little patient into the spotlight and national TV shows such as Ellen.
The video has been on Facebook just over a month, attracted more than 28 million views and prompted Ellen DeGeneres to fly Monroe out to Los Angeles last week for a special birthday taping airing today and Friday.
The birthday show is part of Ellenís "One Million Acts of Kindness" campaign. Monroe was one of the showís VIPs, she said, and got to sit in the second row of the taping with other good-doers.
Monroe says the video that launched her into Internet fame was just a glimpse into a normal day at work in pediatrics.
When her 4-year-old patients need their fingers pricked, she gets them to "paint circles" with their finger tips instead of calling it a blood test. When itís time for shots, Monroe requires big, tight hugs to focus the childís attention away from the needle.
Everything becomes a giggle-fest and a game. Shots arenít so scary anymore.
"I know what itís like to be a patient," she said. "I know it can be scary."
And sure, Monroe has received shots before ó but sheís also spent months in recovery, learning how to walk again.
Six years ago on Jan. 29, she was hit by a car while she pulled over trying to check on someone else who was just in a crash.
Scars on her arms peek out from under her blue scrubs. She uses her past to level with some of her teen patients.
"I know pain," she tells them, explaining the four months it took her to walk after being told she may never take another step. "Youíre not in pain; letís redirect that."
After landing back in Florida from her trip to Ellen in Los Angeles on a recent Friday morning, Monroe reunited with DíMitri inside the medical centerís office on 22nd Street S.
She was exhausted and jet-lagged, but happy to see DíMitri bouncing around the office.
"He says he wants his teachers to stop calling him a superstar," Marshall said.
He hopped over to Monroe and told her he was saving the $5 he got for not crying during his shots.
Marshall and Monroe recalled checking in on each other as the video started blowing up and their Facebook inboxes flooded with requests and messages.
"I told her you need to keep calm," Marshall said. "God blesses those who deserve it."
Monroe smiled. She admits she doesnít see what other people do in the video.
"I guess itís not for me to see," she said. "I just really love kids."