Today I saved a kids life- and prevented a mother’s heartache
There he was, and 8-10 year old boy running down the street, with a big happy grin on his face. I would not have thought twice, but there were no parents or families around, and he was flapping his arms like a baby bird struggling to take flight.
The Silver BMW behind him drove slowly with its hazards flashing. As I drove nearer the boy I could tell something was not right with him. I rolled down the driver side window as I drew near the BMW. “Is that your kid?” I asked. “No,” was the response. “Do you know who he is.” Another negative. I continued to drive away but something did not feel right.
As I watched the boy in the rear view mirror, three other cars stopped near him but no one made a move to get him as a parent would. At the nearest driveway I turned around and raced back to the other cars. “Anyone know who that kid is.” A chorus of “no” echoed back. “Anyone try talking to him?” The guy in the black smart car responded, “I tried, but he ran away.” “I am calling the cops,” was my response. They could help find the kids parents, I thought.
As the other cars dispersed, I dialed 911.
“Hello, what is your name and what around you calling about tonight.”
“Hi, my name is Ben, I am on 127th SW and 8th. There is a kid, maybe 10 years old, possibly autistic running down the middle of the street towards a busy street. He is wearing a grey shirt, shorts, and sandals.”
“We will send someone right over!”
As I continued to follow the kid, wondering if someone would call the cops on me, I noticed he was not stopping. If he kept going he would go right out into the middle of a very busy four lane street! I knew I had to act. I pulled the car passed him, threw the gear into park, and hopped out to intercept the kids.
Knowing he might be autistic, I was concerned he would throw a fit, or start screaming, or something if I approached him. As he came near he ran right into my hand. While in the car I had tried to talk to him with no response. I was not sure if he was deaf or not, but I asked where his parents were. No response. I repeated the question a couple times and he then repeated it back to me. Nope, not deaf, just has communication issues. I asked other questions, “what is your address,” “what is your phone number,” etc. in each case after repeating the question he would say the question back to me.
I had been moving around the street, preventing him from going forward the entire time. He was endeavoring to continue down the road. Eventually he got close to the car and grabbed ahold of the back door handle and said “car.” He repeated this a couple times and I asked, “do you want to get in the car? Go ahead.” With that he leapt inside and immediately put on the seatbelt. Hoping to avoid anyone calling the cops on me, thinking I was stealing a kid, I stayed outside the car and called 911 back to update them on the situation. The policeman showed up a few minutes later with the mother, who he picked up roaming the street looking for the kid.
She was understandably grateful and thanked me profusely.
I may have saved this kid’s life! What if nobody else had come for him and he wandered into the busy street? I had a vivid mental image of him being hit by a motorist, surprised by his sudden appearance on a busy street.
My daddy instincts are kicking in. In a couple short weeks I will welcome my daughter into this crazy world. As I was driving to meet some friends all I could picture in my head was, “what if that was my little girl? What if she was lost? How would I find her?” I am unashamed to admit that I was shaking and a few tears may have escaped my eyeballs.
In this case the mom was in the shower and the kid managed to get out of the house. What would have happened had I not been there? I do not know, but I do know I am glad I was there and I fervently pray that when my little girl needs help there will be other good humans around to protect her.
Let’s promise each other today that we will look out for the vulnerable children amongst us always.