They could have played catch with the football in another field. Two fields were closer to their home.
But Jack Perry, 5, insisted on playing at the new Milford High School field. And so on Christmas Eve, his father pulled into the adjoining and parked the Jeep in the back, near the athletic field fence.
As he did, John Perry said he noticed another car, parked tight up against the back of the building. Something wasn't right and he looked longer at it, long enough so his son asked him what he was looking at.
Perry was vague with the child but what he saw was a garden hose connected to the exhaust, then fed through a window. He could hear the car running and knew someone was trying to commit suicide, or maybe already had.
He told Jack he thought the person might have fallen, and hurt themselves, and told him to stay in the Jeep. Perry, a 27-year employee with the Milford Highway Department, called 911 before he reached the other car, parked about 30 feet away.
The woman was laying down in the back seat, and when he finally found an open door, the driver's side door, and yanked it open, she sat up and tried to motion him away. Perry said he noticed she had cut herself with a knife.
On the phone with the police dispatcher, "I told them, you better get up here quickly."
In less than three minutes, he estimated, the first officer arrived, police Detective Jason Ball, who ran over to the car and was able to disarm the woman, and turn her over to EMTs.
Within minutes, Perry took his son to the field next door, so the boy could throw the football as planned. His son never knew what happened. But Perry feels the child was responsible for them finding the woman in time.
Jack had insisted that they go to the real football field, the one with the bleachers and the scoreboard.
Only because they parked behind the school was the woman discovered.
Both Perrys will be recognized in an upcoming meeting with Milford selectmen. The board received a letter from Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin, describing Perry's intervention.
"It's not heroic," Perry said, of his own actions. "It's the right thing to do. If something doesn't look right, you have to do something."