a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, June 23, 2016

a lost child

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.

43 comments:

TARYTERRE said...

Prayers going out to her, to you. And to that precious little one. they can get away so fast, you have to monitor their every move at that age. He was lucky you came along. Goodness only knows what might have happened otherwise.

salemslot9 said...

they're lucky good Christian folks found him

Joyful said...

Wow! It only takes an instant for a child to go missing. I pity the poor parent. But sometimes parents can also be very neglectful. I too keep an eye on children when they are wandering around. Thankfully so far I haven't had to intervene but it has taught me that some parents just are not so careful. That is not good.

Maria Zannini said...

That's scary. Kids can move so fast too. It's no wonder we can't catch up to them.

Sally said...

Oh my, thank goodness you were there and were able to get some help for him.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I held my breath reading this, Betty! Thank goodness you were there to watch over that tiny child and keep him safe. I won't be quick to judge the mother. Sometimes these things happen in a blink of an eye. Hopefully it all turns out well for all.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

So glad you were there to help. Hopefully all will be well. Child endangerment would be a possibility. I've read of others charged when their children were found wondering down the street. I was a helicopter parent too.

Kat said...

Thank God you were there. That could have ended very badly. Well done!

Chatty Crone said...

I saw a child sleeping in a car seat with the windows up - I called the police too. You were right. Sorry about the mom - but he was endangered. He talked to strangers - you. And what if there were bad people around and they picked him up - he would never see mom again. I would have done the same thing. Good job. More should be like you.

Pat Hatt said...

Look away and they can sure be on the move, when I was babysitting the only time I took my eyes off of them was when they were sleeping, ocd is good sometimes. Good you were there indeed.

joeh said...

Little ones can wander. Turn your back for a second and they are gone. That poor mom may have been looking all around the house before realizing he must have somehow slipped outside. Sometimes kids when they hear frantic calling get scared and think they are in trouble and actually hide. Happened with one of my three year olds.

You did the right thing, perfect actually, good on you. But I hope the mom is not in trouble, I'm sure she and the little one learned a lesson.

Intense Guy said...

Sad world when you really don't dare touch a lost child.

Ruth said...

You did a good thing. My nephew used to get out of his house when he was younger and go running around. The state starting watching the family.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Wow, so glad you saw him. Who know what would have happened to him. So glad that God placed you there at the right time.

Changes in the wind said...

So glad you went the extra mile for that little guy.

Paula Kaye said...

Oh my gosh! There just seems to be so many stories like this anymore. I was a very protective mother. And my grandchildren say I still am. But isn't that what we are supposed to be doing. I will have to tell the story of the time my young son was missing!! Frantic!!

Ann Bennett said...

It is good you noticed the child. I imagine the mother much rather a lecture or ticket than finding her child hit by a car or much worse. Children that age are so so fast to go exploring; it could happen to anyone. We all need to look out for each other. Good post to read.

The Brown Recluse (TBR) said...

I hope you do have some peace of mind about the situation. I'm torn. How does a toddler disappear for half an hour? (And how are babies left in cars?) If you hadn't happened along, who knows what could have happened...including him being picked up by a predator, and no one ever knowing what happened to him. I shudder to think! I don't want to "parent shame" but I don't know how a three year old is missing for even five minutes without some major searching/yelling for him/police calling going on.

I am thankful God put you in his path.

Mevely317 said...

Oh my gosh, Betty. You paint such a moving scene, I'm struggling not to cry. Suddenly, all these instances of children drowning in their parents or grandparents swimming pools makes sense.

Personally, I'm torn whether or not the mother should be charged; hopefully, this near miss will be a wake-up call.
Thank God for your impromptu change of plans!

Saleslady371 said...

You give this mom the benefit of the doubt and I see your grace and kindness. But I just had to confront a neighbor who drops in on us occasionally with her kids and the 7 year old boy touches everything! He never asked to put on my blue tooth headphones I got for Xmas from Tom and threw them down on my coffee table when he ripped them off his head. That was the catalyst to lovingly address this disengaged, Christian mom who lets him touch anything in my home. She looked surprised that this happened and didn't defend him but wondered how she would train him now. It's been hard to have this family in my home. Both parents, educated in Christian counseling, say nothing and the kiddos have no boundaries and Tom and I do not feel training their kids is up to us! God helped me say it, but sometimes it is not enough to just pray. We are involved, like it or not!

DMS said...

So wonderful that you and your husband were in the right place at the right time. You made sure the little boy wasn't harm and didn't go out into traffic. I can imagine how scared that mother was when she realized he was missing. Thank goodness everyone was okay!
~Jess

Atomic Dog said...

That was a great save!

Wendy said...

I could hardly stand reading this to the end. You handled things perfectly. If you had tried to pick him up even, you might have been accused of abduction. It's hard to be a Good Samaritan but I am glad you were in the right place at the right time.

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad God put you there to help that child, you just never know where little toddlers can end up if parents don't keep a close watch. I'm like you, I always look around for children's parents when I see them alone at the store. I also tend to be observant of where little children go and whether their parents are paying attention when I'm at church.

Liz A. said...

Wow, that is scary. Glad you noticed and stopped. A lot of people wouldn't have.

Birgit said...

I'm so glad you were there because he could have wandered into traffic or could have abducted. You were his guardian angels today. I hope the mother is a good mom because it could be anything from him leaving the house without her knowing to her truly not paying attention in. Neglect. I hope it is not the latter.

Joanne said...

You were meant to be there. Good job and happy ending in that the child was not hurt.

Juli G said...

I was an Operations Manager for a large department store in So. Florida before I had kids. Quite often we had... we will call them tourists... who spoke no English, who would just drop their kids, of ALL ages, while they shopped. I had a boy in my back office once for two hours before his mother noticed he was missing. He colored me a nice picture and every once and a while one of the girls that spoke Spanish would come in to see if we needed anything.

I also had a mother who LEFT the store and went grocery shopping while her two year old was in our store.

I don't know what the circumstances were in your case, and thank God you were there, but some mothers... they need the wake up call that the Police bring.

Linda said...

Thank-your Betty & hubby! Whether a case of a rambunctious child or neglectful parent,glad you took the time to do something.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Thank God there are people like you in the world...it was fate that you were there

Mac n' Janet said...

I was a helicopter parent too, still am and she's grown. How scary, anyone could have picked that child up.

Bobbi and Gracie said...

Wow! Yes, God was using you and thank HIM you were receptive to HIS urging you to watch out for the boy. Otherwise who knows what would have happened. When I was a young adult (before children) I watched my irresponsible sister live a lifestyle of heavy drinking and negligence concerning her young children. It impacted me in a big way and I, too, became a helicopter mom ... My heart goes out to the little ones without structure and proper supervision... I am so glad you were able to intervene and that the little one returned home safe. All we can do is pray .. or ... rather... the greatest thing we can do is pray. God bless you and your husband.

Chrys Fey said...

I remember feeling lost in grocery stores and how scary it was. My nephew once opened the door while I was baby sitting him and I turned for a moment to change my other nephew's diaper. I found him walking down the sidewalk toward my neighbor's house. When I yelled his name, he just turned, smiled, and waved at me. He was a pain. lol Sometimes, we don't know how a child gets out. My door was locked and everything. He was even in his highchair, but he got out of it all. Maybe there was a frantic person looking for him...we don't know.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It sounds like you did the right thing. Anything could have happened to that child. Hopefully, the mother will keep a better eye from now on.

Sharon said...

Few things are more heart-wrenching than a lost child. I'm going to hope that this was just an aberration on the mother's part, and that a curious toddler just found their way out of the house. I'm so glad that God brought you there at that precise moment. Sounds like things could have turned out a lot worse.

I am also a helicopter parent - "Whoop, whoop" - and it's hard letting go of my family to the purposes and plans of God. But, I must always remember, God watches them way more closely than I ever could, and they are ever near to His watchful eye!

GOD BLESS!

Liuba said...

Ahhhh I am so glad you were there!

yaya said...

It's easy to jump to conclusions about the parents but I remember one sunny day after we had just moved to a new house and we lost our youngest...not even 2yrs. old yet! Hubby was outside talking to a neighbor and he had the baby with him. I came out and noticed that Jordan wasn't around. Sure enough he wandered as Dad chatted. We found him 4 houses up the road on a backyard swing set playing. We were almost ready to call the police when I spotted him. We sure met all our new neighbors as they all were out searching. Yep, it's scary and it can happen to anyone. Hopefully nothing bad was going on in this little guy's life and I'm glad you were there to make sure that no matter what, he's safe today. Good job!

Bijoux said...

We had a neighbor who NEVER watched her 8 kids. The youngest was often outside alone, as you describe, walking down the sidewalk in bare feet and a diaper. My husband probably saved the kid's life a couple of times, when he walked into the street.

I'm glad you watched out for the poor kid. Calling the police was a good idea.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh my. Good thing you were there to keep an eye on him until the police/mom showed up. That could have ended tragically.

Jerralea said...

Oh what a traumatic happening! I'm so glad you were there to help! He sounds about the age of our grandkids and I know it is so easy for them to get away from us. I watch them like a hawk.

Prayers going out for that mom!

Lux G. said...

I think I already replied here but I'll give my thoughts again. :)
I like to people watch too. Whoever's there with you watching is lucky. You're a blessing.

Sunni said...

Oh my! That's a lot of drama but glad you found the poor kid before he wondered off very far. That poor mother must have been frantic once she discovered he'd gone missing.

Sunni

Veronica Lee said...

Thank God you were there and able to get some help for him. You are Godsend!