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Around 5:30pm yesterday as I was walking to my truck, I spotted a little guy running around in front of the restaurant down the street. My work is located in the downtown grid, so the streets are lined with old buildings filled with shops, cafes and businesses. Nothing really kid oriented. The kiddo was about 4 and had a towel tied around his neck like a cape. He was running 10 – 15 feet in either direction then stopping, twirling and jumping off the park benches. He was having the time of his life. I watched him for a good 2 minutes and not once did I see an adult anywhere near him. Being a mother to a 3 year old, my first instinct was to run to him, pick him up and protect him from the passing cars. But there weren’t many and he was staying on the sidewalk. I got close.. about 30 feet away and just observed. I just new any moment his mother would come walking out of the Spa or Restaurant he was in front of.. but she never did. He was a temporary runaway.

I always tell my child to never talk to strangers and to find a policeman if she is ever lost. But I got a chance to observe a ‘lost’ situation first hand.. and have new information to share with my inquisitive toddler. Walk into a shop and tell the clerk you are lost. That was the only solution to this situation. There are rarely policemen in our downtown grid. And there are strangers everywhere.
After watching this little lost boy for a few minutes a man walked up to the boy, squatted down and engaged him in a conversation. Had I not known this man personally, the crazy mother person inside of me would have run over and tackled this stranger.. but luckily I did. He was a local engineer who works in the building next to mine. Still, I kept watch over the boy.. and hoped that if my child is ever in the same situation, other moms in the area would do the same.
After a few minutes of the typical ‘where is your mommy?’ and ‘are you lost’ banter a crazed woman in heels and a blue dress came sprinting towards them from two blocks away. Seems the child had found his way out of the local library and all the way down Main street by himself. They ran to each other and hugged and she cried. (I almost did too) What a happy ending to what could have been a terrible and tragic event. I hope the little super hero has learned a thing or two about wandering off and I hope that Mother enjoyed a bottle or two of wine last night. Events like this make me go home and hug my child a little longer and a little harder at the end of the day.

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