There are many things in life you hope never happen to you but secretly you think it never will.  Apart of you always kind of feels like that just couldn’t be you.  Maybe your neighborhood is super nice and nothing ever happens.  Maybe, you think things just happen to certain types of people?  Whatever the reason there is always something you think in the back of your mind, “this would never happen to me”.

That was me until yesterday.  While, the fear of someone taking your children is a REAL fear.  I think deep down I thought I wouldn’t have to actually experience it.  You pray you never do but when that moments happens you think OMG I really didn’t think it really would!

So yesterday my 12 yr old daughter was walking to school.  She realized she had missed the bus.  A bus mind you she isn’t suppose to actually be taking BUT we are out of the zone to have a bus.  But, she tends to walk a short ways anyways and ride one (keep this in mind).

So, she realizes she missed the bus.  As she is walking to her school a van drives up.  A man asked her if she missed her bus.  She tells him yes (sigh), then he asks her if she is in high school (big sigh, she is in middle school, tricky man), he tells her he can give her a ride to her school.

She tells him no, her mom doesn’t know him and she will walk.  He then proceeds to continue to try to convince her to get into the van.  If it wasn’t for this area he was in is SO open full of houses which people tend to be outside in I think this situation could have been more scary.

Luckily, she kept walking faster and he finally stopped.  He seemed to stay where he was for a short while until she turned and could no longer see him and we don’t know where he went or what he did.  She went home first to her Aunt who gave her, her phone and she proceeded to walk to school.  Her Aunt didn’t know at the time the full turn of events.  She thought the guy just stopped asked her for a ride and drove off.

I was at work when I got the call that someone tried to pick up my daughter.  In that moment I went into sheer panic mode.  It’s one thing when you think someone has stopped and asked for a ride and drives off.  It’s another when they keep trying to talk you into getting into their old BIG van and they are a male AND alone.  After you have told them no many times.

By the time she got to school she was filled with tears and shaken.  Her teacher immediately was concerned.  My daughter filled her into what happened and she sent her to the counselors office and the school security was alerted (who is an active police officer).  So they got a report, called me.  My head was spinning.

For about 30 mins I was going back and forth between talking with schools and details.  The police were going to be calling me to go over the report.  I knew there was no way I could function at work and all I wanted to do was get my child!  By the time I got off the phones with the schools I sat at my desk and as much as I tried to hold back the tears, I just couldn’t.  I sat there and tears just rolled down my face…. Someone wanted to take MY baby!

D left his phone at home accidentally so I called one of his co-workers that use to be his supervisor in his department and got her to get in touch with him for me.  D left work and picked me up (we car share).  We went home informed the aunt how serious everything was, the protocol if it was to ever happen again and we got our daughter.  It was by far one of the scariest moments in my life.

While it’s scary he still got quite a bit of information from my daughter with out her realizing that she gave away important info (like, she did miss the bus so he knows she rides AND what bus she rides now because in our district there are several middle school and in that area not all kids go to the same school.  knowing the bus she rides is a huge deal because it tells someone which school.  The second was he asked her if she was in high school, by her telling him no she now allowed him to lower it down to what school she went to).  It’s just scary all around.  Especially since she really isn’t suppose to ride the bus.

At which, a school official made a comment about how she shouldn’t be walking so far to school.  I was livid.  We both work, no one else has a car.  I have four children and we don’t have a ton of money.  The kids live a mile or so from the school.  She is about a mile in a  half to hers.  While yes, we like her to ride a bus the school said we live TOO CLOSE!  So ya know, it’s really F’d up you telling me kid how they should be on a bus when your policy won’t allow her to!  I WILL be talking to school about this.  I already complained before but this time it will be without a shadow of a doubt that she WILL be riding.

However, even in this case she did miss the bus so that is neither here nor there.  So unless they want to excuse her absence since she had no ride, walking was all she could do in that moment.  I think that people take for granted that not all of us have the luxury to be home, or to afford to have OR be able to depend on people to take their kids to and from school every day.  I don’t live in a neighborhood like I did growing up where the bus came directly to my house.  I live in one where only some kids get to ride.

We do the best we can.

We are seeking solutions to avoid this next time but boy did it shake me up.  It just shows that I am not that crazy mom.  Someone made me feel very recently how I was just over sheltering my children for finding rides for them in the rain, heck I have been told them same for trying to find solutions for them being picked up everyday.  People just don’t see how this stuff is REAL.

It’s not the 1950’s.  Our children can’t play outside for hours and we don’t know where they were.  At some point times changed, too many children were being taken or hurt.  Parents had to step up and say no we can’t do this.  We are not in that world.  I don’t shelter my kids.  My kids will still do things a lone and I will guard them as much as I can to protect themselves.  But that doesn’t make this anymore real or me being crazy for trying to come up with solutions that keep my children with me and ALIVE.

Never again will I allow someone to talk to me like I am crazy (which I didn’t that day either, I deleted and blocked them from FB) for ever looking out for my kids.  There ARE creepo’s out there and even with out them it’s my job to look out for my kids.  To provide warm, save environments.  Just because you were okay and nothing ever happened to you doesn’t mean that’s the case for everyone.

She can’t shield our kids forever, I refuse to live in fear.  But I will be taking even more steps in making sure something like this is limited.  I hope we never have to experience this again and I feel for any parent who does.  Or even worse for the kids who DO get in the van.  I thank god my daughter listened to us and didn’t get in for we wouldn’t have known she was even gone til probably the end of the day when she just didn’t come home.

The thought of going to work all day, just doing my normal thing and someone has my child and I didn’t even know makes my stomach form knots.  It’s a parents worst nightmare.  Hug your babies you just never know what tomorrow brings….

 

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