Sunday, something crazy happened. I’m going to excerpt an email I sent to some friends.
I was in the kitchen eating a snack when the doorbell rang. I went to answer it and heard the door open. What the hell? So I rush to the door and there is a kid, maybe 6 years old, walking in. I’m all “Excuse me? Excuse me?” And I realize very quickly that he is nonverbal and maybe autistic. (I know, I’m not a doctor, I shouldn’t diagnose. But this was my first thought.) So I look out the window to figure out if anyone is looking for this kid and he starts running circles around the house. He’s wearing a button down shirt, khakis, and no shoes, so I figured he escaped pretty quickly from someone and wasn’t just an abandoned kid or a kid who had come a long way. But I don’t know what to do with him. I keep trying to catch him and I grab his arm, but he pulls away and I don’t want to hurt him. Plus I don’t know him and don’t know what his parents might do or who they are. He keeps trying to run upstairs, and I block him from that, and finally I convince him to go outside. I’m on the verge of calling the police, but don’t want to get anyone in trouble.
The kid goes dashing off across the street and I see a guy out working on his car. I follow the kid because, well, he’s paying no attention and the kid runs up to another house and tries the door. He’s laughing the whole time, so he doesn’t seem distressed. I try to talk to the guy working on his car, but he doesn’t speak English. Why have I not learned Spanish yet? I manage to communicate to him that this kid isn’t mine and I don’t know who he is, and I think he’s lost. So the guy goes with me following the kid, trying to keep him out of the street and stuff. He goes to another house and tries the door and I try to stop him.
At this point, I call the police, who are very confused as to what I’m trying to do. “Lost kid, not mine, don’t know who he is, don’t know what to do,” when I see a guy in a suit walking down the middle of the street towards me. I think “Oh man, please be looking for this kid,” and it turns out he was.
All told, four adults and a teenager come up to get this kid. They were at a church party celebrating the kid’s mom’s birthday and he was sitting playing piano and then all of a sudden, disappeared. The house they were at was about a block from mine. They were so nice and so thankful and kept saying I was so wonderful for staying with him. I got so many hugs I’m like “I’m not going to let a little kid just run aimlessly through the street.”
I can’t imagine the horror they went through trying to find him. It was just crazy and I’m glad that he found his family because I had no idea what I was going to do with him.
This gives me a new respect for parents in general, and especially parents of special needs kids. These parents just kept saying “He’s never done this before. He’s never done this before.” I don’t know how far he would have gotten if he hadn’t ended up in my house, but he was headed towards a much busier road and a tree-lined creek. Definitely a troublesome direction.
I don’t think I did anything special. I think I did what any good person would do. Maybe someone else would have just called the cops while the kid was in their house, which would have also been a good option. I just figured that he couldn’t have come from very far, and I hoped that by going outside, we would find the people looking for him, which is exactly what happened.