I don't know about you, I'm sure you are the same way I am, but I tend to people watch and I'm always on the lookout to see if I can help someone, either by opening a door, taking their cart back for them, letting them go first in line, etc. I also watch out for kids, especially little ones. If I see a little one without a parent apparent, I start looking around and can usually spot the parent within a second or two making their way over to their child.
Tonight, however, was different.
We ran a quick errand to deposit a check and were coming back home when we turned on a street that would eventually take us to our home (it weaves back and forth through neighborhoods). I saw a young child, let's say no more than 3 years old, more than likely just shy of 3 years old. He was walking down the sidewalk with just a diaper on. Barefoot. Mind you, the sun was going down, but the day had been a hot one at close to 110 degrees.
There was no one with him.
As we were driving away from the way he was walking, I told hubby to turn around. I rolled down my window and asked the him "where is home?" He kind of pointed behind him. I said "go home, you need to go home." He kind of looked at me, but stopped walking and then turned around.
Meanwhile, we saw a man carrying groceries out of his car at a house close to where we were so I asked him if he knew who the child belonged to. He said "no." I told hubby then to "call the police" which he started doing. The child had been on the sidewalk but had ventured now onto a street, albeit a residential street, but one short block over was a major road. We kind of moved the car to block him so he had to go back onto the sidewalk. While we were doing that, another car stopped and a guy got out and was trying to help too, but left after we said we were calling the police.
The police showed up about 10-12 minutes later. Mind you, this was now close to 15 minutes since we determined no one at that point was looking for the kid. Of course we had decided to stick around until the police showed up, always keeping an eye on the child, but I never approached him, always stayed in the car, but if I thought he was going to be in any danger, like start running or something, I would have detained him somehow especially because we were close to that major street.
The police arrived and started talking to him and I guess after a few minutes determined they were probably going to have to take him back to the station because they picked him up, he was crying by then, and put him in the back of one of the cars that had arrived. Meanwhile, frantically running down the street we saw a young woman who we eventually figured was the mother because after she reunited with him, he stopped crying and she walked back to her house a block up the street from where we had found him and the police car followed her. The other police car said we could go, so we left.
We got home and just settled in when hubby's cell phone rang and it was the police asking us to come back since they had a few questions. We went back to where they were at and they wanted to hear "our side" of events, asking if he had crossed the road, what he was doing, etc.
I fear someone is going to be charged for something, like child endangerment, etc.
Anyone would have helped. We were just the ones God chose to do his work through this evening. We were right where he wanted us to be.
I know I'll say a prayer for that mother tonight. I was (am) a helicopter parent, my kids were rarely out of my sight. I can imagine her horror when she realized he was missing. I'm thankful it was an outcome like this and not something else that could have happened.