Mommy radar

He was just a wee slip of a boy and I was preoccupied at the end of a very long day.

These two factors should have made the odds of us meeting very slim.

But God works in strange ways.

A few months ago, I was driving my son home from a dinner out, tired from a long day of meetings and mental heavy lifting.

I took the side streets home for some reason. The main drag probably would have been faster. It was dusk, the sky darkening quickly.

My son was telling me a story. I was focused on the road ahead. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement. It was a tiny slip of a boy.

Little boy on a lonely walk
“Out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement. It was a tiny slip of a boy.”

He was happily trotting down the sidewalk, barely noticeable because of his size and the darkening skies. When I spotted him, there was nothing unusual about him. I should have gone back to watching the road with nary a second thought.

Mommy radar is an amazing thing, though. You don’t mess with it.

A gut feeling made me look twice at this boy, who couldn’t have been more than three years old. I realized he was alone.

I scanned the neighboring yards to no avail. And then he crossed the street—by himself—not looking in either direction before he did so.

I pulled over, knowing no mother would let that happen if she was within 100 feet of her child—heck, a football field of her child. While all I really wanted to do was get home to a bubble bath, I thought of how distraught I would be if this was my son. And I got out of my car.

He continued happily walking.

I asked my son to walk with me so this child would not think I was stranger danger on steroids. He saw us begin to follow him. Baby boy ignored my smiles and entreaties for him to stop, speeding up, crossing yet another street.

We were a comical conga line, weaving back and forth across the street. Tiny speedy child trotting along, my son and I race walking behind him to keep up and gesticulating wildly to cars headed his way.

Still no mother or father in sight.

When I realized he probably did not speak English, I called 911 to report what was happening. The operator asked me to stay with him until a police officer could get to the scene.

Six harrowing intersections later (and a lot of jogging on my part), our man in blue showed up. He was all of about 23 and not exactly the comforting, fatherly type. After sprinting for a block to chase the boy down (man, was that little guy fast), he put him in the police car. No parents could be located, even after an hour. No one was looking for this small child.

I’ll fast forward. Child services was finally able to locate his family who, as I suspected, were refugees living in an apartment building on the main drag. When the Family Services contact called to tell me, she told me it was the second time something like this had happened to the child. With 12 people living in an apartment meant for two, I guess he wasn’t immediately missed.

He had his guardian angels working overtime.

And that cadre of angels knows all too well that mommies fulfill a very similar function here on earth, for our own babies and those of others. When human hands are needed, many times they belong to a mother.

A friend recently commented to me, when discussing all of the crazy things that have happened in my life over the past five years, “Sometimes bad things just happen to good people for no reason.”

It was all I could not to jump out of my seat screaming.

No. I can’t buy that logic.

Yes, sometimes bad things happen—to good people, bad people and everything in between.

But for no reason?

No way, sweetie. Not in my universe.

I don’t pretend to know all of the reasons but I know they’re there.

In the same way that I was there, at the right time and in the right place, to keep this future Usain Bolt (did I mention how VERY fast this little guy was?) from being hit by a car, picked up by a child predator, left alone and cold after dark wandering the streets.

I don’t know if some other Good Samaritan would have stopped had I not. Or had I allowed my preoccupation to so befuddle me that I drove by without even noticing him.

The point is, God whispered in my ear.

And I listened.

Mommy radar, mother’s intuition, whatever you like to call it—is just that.

God whispers. We listen.

And the reasons never really have to be made clear.








41 Comments Add yours

  1. Something similar happened with me, only instead of a child it was a puppy I was chasing. You can imagine how much I ran.

    Maybe I should write about that too…..

    1. candidkay says:

      You should! Would make for an interesting story :-).

  2. You are truly inspirational!
    That child is so lucky that you came along.

    1. candidkay says:

      I felt so lucky that the timing worked out the way that it didn’t. Had I been even a minute earlier in leaving dinner, I would not have crossed his path.

  3. I loved your description of the chase Kay, but more than that, your willingness to stop and take responsibility for making sure he was safe 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I still laugh, despite the seriousness of the situation, at the conga line we must to presented to passersby :-).

  4. Wow, lucky little boy to have you near. You’re right, every child is our child. We’re mothers to them all. Love this. Thank you.

    1. candidkay says:

      I love knowing that we look out for children not our own. Makes me feel my kids are a bit safer when out there in the world and not under my watchful gaze . . .

  5. srbottch says:

    By the way, i liked the description ‘…like a conga line…’ Pictured it perfectly.

  6. srbottch says:

    Nice work, Candace. It was a great lesson for your son, too, to understand what a Good Samaritan is and does. You’ll talk about it years from now. And, thank goodness for cell phones…

    1. candidkay says:

      So true on the cell phone bit! What did we do before them? Truly. I was chuckling at the Candace bit:). My blog is titled candidkay–but that’s not my name. Real name is Kristine. Here’s why the blog title:

  7. I love this! Yessireebob! I believe synchronicity had you there, and you listened to the whisper. You rock!

    I can most definitely relate to how fast a little person can run, as one time I was chasing my toddler across a lawn as he ran for the street (when a Suburban was coming). Long story short, I caught up to him in the middle of the street, where the car would have hit him had it not turned into a driveway. Yup, it was one of those “time slowed down” moments.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, that had to be terrifying! It made my stomach drop just reading it. I’m so glad that Suburban was turning into a driveway :-).

      1. It was very terrifying. I was running, calculating getting to the road in time to dive in front of the car and push my guy out of the way. I very consciously decided to take the blow, knowing I’d get hurt, possibly very badly. Then the car slowed and turned at the last moment. We were at a birthday party, and the people in the car came too. Once I had the kid in my arms, I bawled.

      2. candidkay says:

        You had every right to bawl:). I think I would have also!

  8. Wow. Incredible. “God whispers. We listen.” Yes. Thank God you saw him!!!! Mind-blowing. Wow.

  9. reocochran says:

    You have a loving and open heart, Kristine. I used to call you K. and am working on remembering your whole name. I think parents need to step into situations to help out, to prevent disasters and to save someone from a fall, misstep or mistake. I have intervened at the county fair with children who were away from their parents. I know it wasn’t “my place,” but I hope that I would be happy if someone stepped in and helped or prevented a problem with my own grandchildren now that their parents are so busy. . . Hugs, Robin

    1. candidkay says:

      I love knowing there are people out there who will notice and care. So many on autopilot and it’s good to know we’ve got the opposite also:). Good for you for helping those kids out–I’m sure they were grateful.

  10. I’m with you Kristine, there is always a reason, and I have found there are no coincidences in my life! It’s all about timing and listening and watching the signs. Lucky you were too for that little boy. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      When something bad happens, I actually think believing there is a reason for it helps. The random nature of things is otherwise a bit scary . . .

  11. glasgowfoodieblog says:

    That’s an amazing story; shows what can happen when you just take a second to stop thinking about your own life and focus on someone else. There was once a wee boy all alone in IKEA when I was there shopping for bedroom furniture. Realised he was all alone and with no one else, so I got security. Turns out his mum had driven away without him! Just lucky that he hadn’t tried to get out the shop himself – the car park is awful there.

    While I’m here I may as well say that I’ve just started a food blog, just writing wee things about dining out in places in Glasgow. Things have been tough for me over the last few years but food is something that has always brought me comfort (not necessarily a good thing hahaha). Would love it if anyone was interested and wanted to have a look or give me a follow, it would mean a lot.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m glad you listened to the whisper also! Who knows what could have happened to that little boy in IKEA? I’m sure his mother felt awful. I will check out your blog–love good food:).

      1. glasgowfoodieblog says:

        Yes, hopefully she won’t make that mistake again! Thank you for your time – I’ve just launched it today so only one article as of yet, but I am hoping for it to grow!

  12. koehlerjoni says:

    It’s good that you chose to listen. How many of us ignore those things we know to do on a regular basis? Perhaps this child will go on to do something great for the world.

    1. candidkay says:

      Now wouldn’t that be cool? I wonder if someone saved a lost little Mahatma Gandhi or Winston Churchill:).

      1. koehlerjoni says:

        Undoubtedly. We’ve all been “saved” at some point in our lives.

  13. Your radar is built on love Kay. The more we understand it, the more finely tuned it is.
    That is why females, and mom’s in particular, ‘know’ what is happening in those around them. They are taught to ‘feel’ from birth.
    Us guys are told to ‘get up’, not ‘grow’ up, hence the ability to block all those loving feelings. Then years of trying to break back through those walls.
    A sixth sense it is…and a seventh, eighth… 🙂
    A lovely post Kay, with (thankfully), a beautiful ending 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      True, Mark. There’s a reason it took a former female police officer to crack the Jayce Dugard case. She said she went with her gut feeling about things . . . that sixth sense.

  14. I, too, have chased another’s child through traffic for safety. Love the image of your comical conga line. I’ll bet your son will remember this day in his very bones, the feeling of fearing for another and acting in another’s best interest.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hope my son will keep the memory. I know what I do is twice as important as what I say–and I’d prefer he remember the good stuff vs. the not so great:).

  15. Yep, once you have kids you’re blessed (stuck?) with that radar, and as you prove it’s not limited to only your own kids. Good for you for stopping. I wonder if a 3 year old alone would have stood out so strongly on the sidewalks of NYC…

    1. candidkay says:

      To a mother, he would have:). You betcha’.

  16. kkrige says:

    You earned your angel wings that day. Good for you Mama. Good for you…

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I love knowing there is an army of mamas like me out there that would have helped my child, if he were in trouble.

  17. I agree Kay. I believe, too, that there are always reasons – though we may not understand them at first.

  18. George says:

    Sometimes bad things happen to people because we don’t take the steps to prevent them as you did with this little boy. Sometimes we don’t speak up, take action, make a stand, have a conversation, or any number of different things we can do to intervene and change the course of events or lives.
    If history has taught us anything, it has taught us that our silence or inaction is never an option when the greater good is begging for our help.

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re so right, George. I usually do a gut check to be sure I belong in a situation, though. I know some people who insert themselves into something and just add drama:).

  19. So glad you took action.

    1. candidkay says:

      Me too, Cynthia! I shudder to think what might have happened and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder if he’s being more carefully watched/cared for . . .

  20. Amy says:

    Once you have a child, all children become your children. At least this has been my experience. I see that it has also been yours. Guardian angels are among us, and I am thankful -but not in the least surprised, knowing your faithful, watchful, loving heart as I do- that you are one of them. Thank God you “just happened ” to go with your “Spidey senses,” as Jeff calls them, to be in the right place at the needed hour. A harrowing tale with a happy ending. Keep listening to that Divine whisper. 💗 P.S. Ursain Bolt: still chuckling!!

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree! I think even before becoming a mother, that instinct was there. I’m sure some fathers have it also, to be fair. I truly think, though, it will be mothers who will change the world for our kids–or at least raise them to change the world.

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