Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two rescues at once

I traveled to my friend Mary's house to rescue her from insanity.  The snow is really making it hard to get out around here.  Since I have 4 wheel drive, I asked her if I could come rescue her.  Trust me when I say that I needed it in her neighborhood.  My street is fairly cleared, but she lives further out in our county and hers was in horrible shape.
   We quickly hopped in the car and started to leave her neighborhood.  When we were almost at the exit to the neighborhood, I saw a little boy peeking his head out of the snowbanks.  He was around 3.5 - 4 years old, wearing pajamas and shivering.  I stopped, honked my horn (to alert him and his parents).  He stopped, but there was no adult around.  We rolled down the windows and asked him if he lived at that house.  He did not.  Then we asked if he lived nearby, "No I lives far away".

Uh, oh!

So we quickly go into mommy mode.  Mary gets out and tries to talk with him and also talks with a neighbor from a few houses down.  The neighbor does not recognize the boy and says he does not live in the houses next to her.

Double Uh, oh!

While Mary talks to the boy to try to calm him, get his name and a location of where he is supposed to be, I call 911 and talk to the dispatcher.  While I am on the phone the boy bolts out running.  Mary chases after him and I follow in the car.  Another neighbor joins in the chase to help this boy while I remain on the phone with the dispatcher.  I had to stop at the street intersection, in order to pull over and allow cars to pass and be at a location the police could easily recognize.  Mary and neighbor #2 are no longer in sight.  I waited anxiously for her to return.  When she does, the news is not a great big happy reunion story.  The boy ran to a house and she knocked on the door.  No one answered. She turned the handle to see if it was open (it was) and the boy darted into the house.  She yelled to see if anyone was home.  A man came to the door, not all himself.  Mary was not sure if he had been asleep or if he was using some mind altering substance. He did not seem concerned for the boy, or appear that he had been looking for the boy.  He barely addressed her when she asked if the boy belonged here.  He answered her with, "Yes. He's in daycare." Close door and lock it.
Uhhh, in my book a THANKS is in order.  Even a little bit of concern over the boy being lost????

When Mary gets back to the car and relays this to me, I know in my soul that there is only one thing to do.  It is not to call the police and say the boy has found his home, and get on with our day.  The right thing is to stay and wait for the police and explain the situation.  Is the man sleepy? in an altered state?  Is he fit to provide daycare to this child?  I did call back the dispatcher and alerted her to the change of situation and that we would be willing to wait.
    The police arrived shortly.  They were driving a school security SUV instead of the standard police car.  They had a chuckle with us about being "real cops" in a borrowed car.  (Due to all the snow, any county SUV was being put to use for other purposes).  I was glad to have police officers that were friendly, but diligent.  They took all our information and went to investigate while we waited for them to return.  When they did return they told us, that the wife was actually the day care provider.  They told the police that they were starting to look for the boy when he came back, and that he had not been gone for long. This is not true.  Based on where the boy was located, he had to have been out of the house for at least 15 minutes.  Think about how long it would take a typical curious boy to meander around and travel about 2-3 blocks.  15 minutes is a fair estimate.  Not to mention that a daycare provider should have child safety locks on the doors.  The police were able to assess that the man was not under the influence and had probably just awoken when Mary knocked on the door.  They were filing a report, were notifying Child Protective Services, and were going to call the mother of the boy to inform him of the event.   This is the best result that we can hope for.  At least the mother was informed and if anything else happens with this daycare, there is a report filed.
   I am no perfect parent and these things can happen to all of us, but I know that I would never feel comfortable leaving my child at that daycare again.  I think that your minimum expectation from a daycare provider is the safety of your child.  I can only say that I wish that little boy the best of luck and I am glad that Mary and I stopped to rescue him.

After that hour detour,  I was finally able to rescue Mary!

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