OAKLAND -- One thing is certain, Knowland Shell Miller will always have a great story to tell about how his parents came up with his name.

The baby was born about 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Shell gas station in the Knowland Park neighborhood, just across from the Oakland Zoo -- entering the world in the back of his parents' SUV with the help of three Oakland police officers who just happened to be at the station at the time.

In an emotional meeting Tuesday that had the baby's father in tears and the police officers who delivered him choked up as well, baby Knowland slept like, well, a baby while the family and officers were reunited during a feel-good news conference.

"You guys single-handedly saved my son's life," the baby's father, Danny Miller, 26, of Oakland told Officers Charles Stone, Sean Bowling and Jeffhry Cid, who helped deliver the baby. "It's a blessing. It's really a blessing."

The baby's mother, Kimberly Thomas, 27, who has four other children, knew when she was immobilized by excruciating pain shortly after 6 p.m. Friday that she didn't have time to waste.

She called her boyfriend, Miller, who was attending barber college, and told him she was hurting. Miller walked home, and the couple loaded their 4-year-old son Kristian in the SUV and headed to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland.

"She kept saying, '(I'm) not going to make it, (I'm) not going to make it,' " Miller said. "She said, 'If we get on the freeway, I'm not going to make it (to the hospital).' "

They spotted the police cars at the Shell on Golf Links Road, and Miller ran inside the mini-mart, where the officers were warming up dinner and talking to the clerk. "I said (she's going to) have a baby right now," Miller said.

Cid, a father himself and a former nursing assistant at UC San Francisco Medical Center, sprang into the lead role, though he'd never delivered a baby before. They grabbed paper towels from the gas station clerk and instructed Miller to be ready with the shirt off his back for the baby.

"Two or three minutes later, my little man came out," Miller said.

The officers all said they were honored to be able to be at the right place at the right time. "It was a wonderful experience for us," Cid said. "We are blessed to be part of your family in this special way."

They also credited Thomas for keeping calm during the ordeal.

"Mom was fighting and battling the whole time," said Stone, also a father. "She was cooperative and calm, and she answered all of our questions about what was going on."

For her part, the mom passed kudos right back to the officers. "They are good people. They calmed me down more than him," she said, pointing to the boy's father.

The baby, wrapped in his dad's sweater, was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He is healthy and thriving.

In addition to the media attention, baby Knowland got a special invite from police Chief Howard Jordan on Tuesday: "He is now an honorary police officer, and we look forward to seeing him in the Class of 2037."

Contact Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com.