Sunday, May 9, 2010


Since today is Mother's Day and we are approaching summer, I would like to share a true experience that happened to me and later to my family..

It was a very hot summer day in Colorado.  We celebrated our little granddaughter, Jessica's 2nd birthday.  Her mommy and daddy made a big deal over their children's birthdays with balloons all over  their living room and up the stairway.  A dozen presents waiting for little Jessica to open as grandma and grandpa looked on.  Gummy is my name which replaced grandma, as it was easy to say when she was a baby and it stuck till this day.

The following day we drove to Water World for a wonderful day of adventure and fun.  We parked our belongings at the little kiddie pool which looked like a lake.  In the pool was a sliding pond going down to another pool .  There were table and chairs for picnicking along one side of the pool,.  It was fenced off, so no children could wonder away.  It looked very conducive for the safety of children, or so I thought.

Leaving the stroller and our things behind, we left the area for some tube fun.  It was the best time of my adult life, feeling like a kid again. I loved sharing the tube with my grandchildren going down the  slides.  After trying out their other rides, we went back to our table and chairs for some lunch.  We stayed there for awhile resting and enjoying watching our little 2 year old play in the water.  The others continued playing with the other rides.

Later, they all returned, to get ready to pack up for home. My daughter in law was busy collecting their belongings and collecting the children from the pool.  She dried off the wetness from our little granddaughter and instructed me to watch her while she was going to find our grandson Justin who was five years old.

When she got Justin out of the water they returned to my table.  I was watching our granddaughter all the time, but my eyes must have been off her when her mother returned to the table. to  dry the little guy off.., My husband asked where our little 2 year old Jessica was.  I could not believe she was missing right in front of us.  My son and husband ran into the kiddie pool and the other side of the big slide but now where was she to be found.  We were getting frantic.  My daughter in law sat down holding my grandson crying, while I demanded everyone scream for help. 

Who cares if we sounded like a low class citizens. I walked out of the gate which was like a maze.  It was difficult to get out as you had to walk around a bit.  Screaming on top of my lungs, "Jessica, Jessica" I ran out of the gate.  A woman heard me yelling and asked me if I was looking for a little blond child.  I said yes, and asked where she was.  The lady told me that a woman and man were walking with her but when they heard my yelling they walked away.  Then another lady followed her to the direction of the refreshment counter  It was in an enclave hidden from the walkway with a rest room adjacent to it.  There was a long line of people waiting to get in the bathroom.  At the refreshment area, I  screamed for my granddaughter and yelled for the police.  "Please help me someone, police, police, help"  But no one came out to say "here is your granddaughter,"

 As we were circling the area, we noticed a woman in her 40's holding her in her arms waiting in line to get into the rest room,  We grabbed Jessica from her arms and stupidly ran back with her to her parents.We knew they were beside themselves and we wanted to stop their pain as soon as possible.  What was so strange, why didn't that lady step out of line to say she found her.  Why wasn't Jessica crying when the stranger was holding her?  Why didn't she put her arms out to us when she saw us?  It was all such a mystery until we returned Jessie to her parents.

A gentleman who was at the next table from us, came over and said " I am sorry to intrude, but I could not help notice the commotion of your missing child,   We are so happy for all of you that you found her.  You are very lucky especially what is going on in Disney World, or Land.. Could not remember." What do you mean", I said."Didn't you read it in the papers?  There was a kidnapping ring that went to Disney world or Disney Land.  They take the children into the bathroom, change their clothes, put color on their hair and drug them so they wont cry. They caught the kidnappers because the mother who gave an exact identification of clothing described the sneakers in great detail.  The kidnappers forgot to change the child's shoes. Thus, the child was found harmlessly but drugged"  Their security system was excellent as they closed the gates making sure no one could enter or leave."

After hearing his story, my son demanded we go back to the ladies room to find that woman.  But she was gone,.  He was so angry, blaming me, his wife, everyone.  I could not blame him.  It was horrible.  My voice was never the same again and eventually I had a  larynectomy  It could have been from screaming and perhaps smoking earlier.

Afterwards we put the pieces together.  My daughter in law said, she noticed a couple sitting  at the table on the other side of us with no children,  She was wondering how come they were there if they had no children,  Busy having fun with her family, she paid no attention at the time.  When we found Jessie, she did not put her hands out to us when she saw us and was not crying.  The fact that the lady did not step forward to hand us our child caused further suspicion They must have grabbed her with the confusion of packing up, and carried her over the fence which was about three or four feet tall.

We looked all over for the security guard, police etc.  But the only people we found were teenagers manning the first aid shack.  They were no help.  I could not believe that Water World in Colorado had no security.  I tried contacting the company but got no response. We were extremely happy we found her and tried to forget about it.
Until we started hearing about missing children.  They were not as lucky as our Jessie.  They were found dead.  Every missing child reminds me of how lucky we were.  I still cry out for all those lost children who suffered before they died. I cried for their parents and family as well.

Perhaps people think I over react when I cry each time I hear the news of a kidnapping. Some do not know my story while others do and understand,  This story must not be in a closet.  It must be told all the time.  Never, never take for granted for one minute that your child will be in the same position you left her.  Perhaps 99% for that moment she will stay close.  But that 1% can be deadly.

On another occasion many years prior when our daughter, Stacy was about two or three, I took her to a department store.  Looking at children clothes for her, she disappeared .She was just beside me.  She wanted out of the stroller and was right by me.  Screaming on top of my lungs, I yelled her name.  She was nowhere in sight.

Our daughter, was afraid of escalators..  Every time I carried her up or down she would cry.  So I knew she did not go downstairs by herself. However, I yelled her name anyway down the escalator as it was riding up. just in case because she was nowhere on my floor. I remember my husband always said to me to refrain from screaming out for your children as it sounds very common.  I did not care how it sound. After screaming several times, for the police, help and so on, I heard my daughter voice coming from down the escalator as it was going up  I didn't care.  I ran down the up escalator to her.  I did not know if I should hit or kiss her.  I chose to hug her tightly.  "How did you get downstairs," I asked.  "Mommy," she said. "A lady took me by my hand to take me to my mommy.  When I saw she was taking me out side, I heard your voice, and broke out of her hand to the escalator. Today my daughter has a three year old and the fear continues...

We are all human and it is difficult to watch with your eyes wide open 100% when you are with your child.  You have to be lucky.  With a blink of an eye, your child disappears and wanders maybe into the wrong hands. But with what is going on these days, it is wise to try getting to that percentage.  Besides little children wandering, there are sick people out there who  stalk and watch their routine.  They wait for that 1% moment to crab them..

A buddy system is always recommended even in teen years. Never take your siblings, children grandchildren  or any child you care for, for granted that they will stay by your side.  Not for a moment!

God Bless