Man Trying to Help Lost Girl Is Mistaken for Predator and Beaten by Her Dad

When a man noticed a little girl wandering by herself near a softball game in Lakeland, FL, he correctly assumed she was lost and started taking her around, trying to help her find her family.

But when the father was alerted by bystanders that some stranger was walking toward the playground with his daughter, he went and punched the man out. The police report is here. As NBC News reports:

The well-intentioned act was mistaken for a kidnapping attempt.

You know why? Because we have this MOVIE PLOT SCENARIO on infinite-loop in our brains, telling us that this is how children get abducted: In public, by strangers.

“I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?” the father told NBC affiliate WFLA in a phone interview. “I wanted to kill him!”

Thinking they were stopping a crime, the father and two friends approached the stranger: As his friends took the toddler away, the father punched the good Samaritan “probably five or six times,” he told WFLA.

“I thought he was trying to take my daughter.”

Of course he did. In fact, he may haven been one of 12 million people who watched Joey Salads’ video in which he shows how “easy” it is to steal a child from a park — making it seem like this kind of thing is happening all the time, a video that ignores two wonderful facts:

1 – Most people do NOT steal children. It is the rarest of crimes.

2 – The tragic but less exciting truth is that our children are in far more danger from people they know than from strangers.

But worse than even this beat first/ask questions scenario is the fact that even AFTER the police concluded and explained to the family that this was truly a Good Samaritan TRYING TO HELP THEIR LOST CHILD:

The father and his friends were not satisfied with the man’s explanation or that of the police. “So, I guess in Lakeland, you can kidnap a child and get away with it,” the father said to police, local media reported. The police report, local media said, described the father as “increasingly agitated.”

According to WFLA, other media outlets and police, family members and friends went on social media and shared the man’s photo, his Facebook page and his place of business, “calling him a child predator,” WFLA said.

The Samaritan, fearing for his life, has fled town. Meantime, the police are reminding the family, via a statement that:

“Accounts of this incident have circulated on social media with false information and speculation. Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held [liable].”

The whole incident makes you understand this tragic story from 2002  even more: In England, a  man named Clive Peachy saw a lost toddler on the side of the road and considered stopping to pick her up and try to find her parents. But he drove on.

She was not walking straight, she was tottering, said Mr Peachey. “I kept thinking should I go back? One of the reasons I did not go back is because I thought someone would see me and think I was trying to abduct her.”

So he didn’t go back and get her.

She drowned in a pond.

Until we actively renounce the conviction that any stranger-child interaction is likely to be a rape/kidnapping, we will make the world LESS safe for kids.

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You’re crying? I’m the one who’s going to be beaten up and smeared on social media!

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67 Responses to Man Trying to Help Lost Girl Is Mistaken for Predator and Beaten by Her Dad

  1. Helen Armstrong June 28, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    Reading this makes my blood boil. The poor man was just trying to help a lost kid and ends up being beaten up and afraid. Personally, I think the father should have been arrested for assault, and made to pay some kind of compensation to the Good Samaritan.

  2. Les June 28, 2017 at 8:37 am #

    I’m with Clive Peachy. No way will I approach and try to help a child I don’t know. It’s just too risky. I’ll call the police if that seems warranted, but that’s as far as I’ll go. Parents, if your kid needs help, and I’m the only one around who could help, sorry, but they’re on their own. You wanted it this way; you’ve got it.

  3. Theresa Hall June 28, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    Dad said that it looked like he taking her to the parking lot. Well it is just beyond the playground. His excuse all the families at the park were black and he and his daughter are white made think black people can’t have white kids. There are mixed families that look black so why not white?. He should sorry I hit you but just reacted to thought you were stealing my kid. But he doubles down and probably tells the online world this guy just tried to steal my kid and all that matters is my kid is safe.

  4. Dienne June 28, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    I can totally understand why the guy thought the Good Samaritan was kidnapping his kid. I mean, when child predators snatch kids off playgrounds (which they do every day), they always walk casually toward a playground filled with kids and parents.

    /s

    Seriously, though, why isn’t this guy being charged with assault and battery? And, for that matter, in this day and age, child neglect, since his child was obviously out of his sight.

  5. Dienne June 28, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    “What would you do?”

    “Excuse, me, hi, I’m her father. Is there a problem?” Maybe stand in his path, maybe with my cell phone at the ready on the off chance he’s up to no good. But hit him? Absolutely unacceptable. Criminal, in fact.

  6. Jennifer C June 28, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    @Dienne

    Apparently the Good Samaritan does not wish to press charges. He’s a better person than I would be, particularly after the way this man and his friends have smeared him on FB. I think at the very least the family needs to apologize to this man and publicly retract the things they’ve said about him.

  7. En Passant June 28, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    Considerably more information on the incident is available here, including an astonishing admission by the assailant:

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-polk/lakeland-father-beats-up-good-samaritan

    For example, with assailant’s name elided by me:

    ABC Action News asked [the assailant] if the ‘stranger’ was actually trying to abduct his daughter.

    “Honestly, I really don’t know. I don’t want to say yeah,” [the assailant] said.

  8. Jessica June 28, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    That man should absolutely be charged with assault. “I was mistaken about what was happening” is not a valid defense for violence.

  9. JTW June 28, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    And that’s why I’ll never help a child unless I know the child and the parents well enough that I’m certain they know I mean no harm.

    I’d rather see a child drown or worse than be branded a pedophile and end up on some hit list.

    It’s a sad state of affairs that this is what the world has come to.

  10. Workshop June 28, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    Charges should be filed against the father, and his friends if they were accomplices. Then the Samaritan should file defamation charges for the social media.

    Sometimes the only way to stop bullies is to punch back.

  11. Kimberly June 28, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Why haven’t the father, friends, and other people making threats and accusations been arrested and jailed without bail (since they keep threatening this man)?

  12. lollipoplover June 28, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    This is the pitchfork mentality that a man interacting with a child is always up to no good. As a woman, I am pretty sure I would never be in this kind of position and it makes me absolutely furious that this man was beaten (where are the assault charges) and his reputation ruined for doing a good deed! You lost your kid, jerk dad. I hope this story gets more exposure and the dad gets charged with assault.

    My son is now 16 and at 6’4 200 lbs, he can no longer be considered a child, but instead a potential threat. He has his permit and wants to practice driving every chance he gets (he’s a very good driver). I picked him up from the gym yesterday, and I did our little fire drill to walk around the car to the passenger seat so he could have the driver’s seat. A mom was strapping her child into the backseat and yelled at my son to “Stay away!” as he tried to get to the driver’s seat. He was only trying to get to his car (which he already bought with his own money) and commented that the mom was paranoid and went on with driving.
    Me?
    I am truly sad that we are turning our good men into the new boogeymen just for being male. This has to stop.

  13. Derek W Logue of OnceFallen.com June 28, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    https://www.facebook.com/people/Austin-Strickland/100001346545664

    Here is Austin Strickland’s Facebook page. Feel free to tell him how you feel.

    Now, if Strickland had punched Joey Salads in the face, I might actually give him a medal.

  14. John B. June 28, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    According to an article I saw, the Good Samaritan did have justification for suing the father for assault and probably would have collected a substantial amount; however, he chose not to because he understood the father’s concern.

    He’s certainly more of a man than I am cause I would have sued the shit outta him!

  15. Coasterfreak June 28, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    I saw this article yesterday and it made me so furious that I had to go for a walk to calm down. Aside from the assumption that the guy was a kidnapper, and the wildly inappropriate response from the child’s father, and the online smearing of the good samaritan, what finally made me so mad that I could barely see straight was that at least at that time, the father had not even had the guts to own up to his mistake and apologize to the man. Real men own up to their mistakes. This man is a gutless coward.

    The good samaritan is a better person than I am. I would press charges so fast, Jimmy John’s would hire me to deliver their subs. (In case of anybody who lives where there’s no Jimmy John’s, their delivery is advertised as “so fast you’ll freak.)

  16. lollipoplover June 28, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    “I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?” the father asked. “I wanted to kill him!”

    So homicide is the first thought from this father??
    This is NOT a normal reaction.

    Looks like the comments on the NBC article page are in disbelief that the father was not charged with assault and some are saying he should also be charged with child neglect because he wasn’t supervising his own child.
    Apparently, the good samaritan was Indian- I sincerely hope that race wasn’t a factor in this father (and friends) violent reaction but sadly wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

  17. John B. June 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Ok, the guy definitely over reacted and hit the guy, but what makes my blood boil is that even though he was told that the man was not up to no good and was only trying to help his lost daughter, he still feels he was justified in assaulting the man. Police should have automatically pressed charges.

  18. Backroads June 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    One of my Facebook buddies local to Florida shared this with the most absolute disgust in his own comment, reminding everyone to just check things out before jumping to conclusions. It’s awful.

    Just last week when my preschooler smashed her tooth out, we went to the dentist, only to have her baby sister lose the tooth in the car during the three-minute drive. Because I have a crazy fear of my kids baking to death in the car, I took them out of the car, put them by the dental office door, told Big Sister to hold Baby’s hand whilst I searched for the tooth. The receptionist came out, led the girls inside, and entertained them. It was so helpful and not for once did I think she was kidnapping my kids.

    And another personal story… when I was a but a youngster, I got lost on the beach during apparently a shark sighting. Guess who found me and returned me to my family? A male.

  19. Katie G June 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    If you have anyone mentioning this, online or IRL, call it out for being sexist and assault.

  20. John B. June 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    @Coasterfreak:

    I understand exactly how you feel. It pissed me off too. Especially the father’s defiance and self justification.

  21. AmyP June 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    Ridiculous. I had a similar incident except nobody was punched out and it ended in a thank you. I was staying at a hotel while traveling with my three kids. I was in the shower while the kids were watching TV. The older two were supposed to be watching the three year old, but you know kids. They were paying more attention to the TV than to their sister. So I came out and the little one was gone. Had managed to escape from the room. I left to look in the hall when I saw a man carrying her. Now movies would have you believe that she was about to have her sold into the sex trade and I needed to karate chop him before he ran off to conduct his evil plans. Instead the result was a lot more boring. He saw me come out and asked if this happened to be my kid because he found her crying outside his room and was going down the hall knocking on doors. I said yes and thank you so much. Everybody moved on, the guy didn’t end up injured. My child happily resumed getting ready for the day. The worst thing that happened was the other two kids getting a stern taking to about watching out for each other. This is how it’s supposed to happen.

  22. John B. June 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    @Backroads:

    I thought you were gonna say that the shark found you and returned you to your lost family…..LOL!

  23. Andrea June 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    I hate people.

  24. Backroads June 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    @John B., and then my dad could have punched a good Samaritan shark.

  25. Paul Shannon June 28, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    We have come to the point where it takes a great act of courage to help a child. There is no future for such a society.

  26. Helen Armstrong June 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    I love all the comments I’ve read thus far about this story – everyone’s spot on and some (the shark comments) even brought a smile to my face 🙂

  27. Helen Armstrong June 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    One more comment: This website helps keep my sanity intact.

  28. SKL June 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    Ugh! Those people should be prosecuted!

    Depending on how old the little girl was, maybe they should be threatened with child endangerment for letting her wander away in the first place and putting the Good Samaritan / “kidnapper” in that position. I mean, since they are so adamant that someone needs to be punished!

    And here’s a new pet peeve of mine: the cell phone amber alerts. This would be fine if it was just a matter of me getting an amber alert. But they come to everyone’s phone with this distinctive loud sound – my kids know that is “another child taken” and they have this idea it happens all the time. I keep pointing out that it’s usually the kid’s non-custodial parent who has taken the kid, so it isn’t a generalized danger to all kids. But still, every time it happens, oh no, another child kidnapped ….

  29. Mike June 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    This reminds me of a story from Reddit several years ago, that Lenore linked. A man saved a child from drowning at the beach, only to have the mother come up screaming “get your hands off my child you pervert”. She even called the police and tried to have him arrested – for saving her child from drowning.

    Stories like that, and this, make me think that watching a child die may be safer than getting involved. And I hate to think that way.

  30. SKL June 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    Well I did feel like hitting someone the time a lady took my putzy, not-lost 3yo by the hand and proceeded to ream me out because the child was “not with an adult.”

    But, I didn’t hit the woman, because (a) I don’t go around hitting people and (b) obviously it would have been unproductive.

  31. Eric S June 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    So what happene to the father. As much as I wish it didn’t happen, this guy still assaulted another human being. And “I thought…” is NO EXCUSE. I hope he was charged for assault. Teach him that there is consequence of action. And that he should have NEVER ASSUMED. He could have just confronted the man, and hear his side of the story. There was no reason whatsoever to assault the man. None. And if “I thought…” was a good enough reason NOT to be charged, well then, there’s a few thousand people in prison right now that should be release immediately. The ignorance and arrogance of people these days. And it seems it’s much, much worse in America than any other place of democracy.

  32. Eric S June 28, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    I also bet the “father” gets extremely upset and violent when other males talk to his wife. Typical insecure brute mentality. He’s definitely over compensating for his inadequacies.

  33. Roger the Shrubber June 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    maybe they should be threatened with child endangerment for letting her wander away in the first place

    Please! I know that SKL and Dienne are not new here. I understand that the father was an asshole and should be charged with assault, but considering losing your child in a park to be child endangerment is absurd and against every idea that is promoted here. How quickly you adopt the objectionable arguments of those with which you disagree when you see the opportunity to use them to inflict punishment on those you don’t like. Principles over principals.

  34. Steve Zuppa June 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

    What have we come to? Fifty years ago as a 14 year old, I was hanging out in downtown Boston,MA, by myself (and I lived way out in the suburbs) when I came across a small boy (maybe 5?) crying in the department store I was shopping in. I asked him what was wrong and he said he couldn’t find his sister. I asked what she looked like and he said she was big. Which made perfect sense since he was small. Because he couldn’t see over the displays, I put him on my shoulders and we walked around the store trying to find her.(Grounds for arrest in 2017). When we got near the front of the store, another patron told me he had seen the boy and his sister at another store up the street. So out of the first store we went. (Again, grounds for arrest in 2017.) As we walked up the hill,with him still on my shoulders, he spots his sister at the intersection. She’s talking to a Boston Mounted Policeman. When they saw each other, there were smiles all around. Theirs for having found each other, the Cop’s for having the problem solved, and mine because I had done a good deed. Today, faced with same situation, I’d do the same thing because I’m just ornery enough to believe that doing the right thing is always worth it.

  35. JTW June 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    “. Police should have automatically pressed charges.”

    Indeed, I can kinda understand why the man did not bring civil suit, but the police should have arrested and jailed the father pending arraignment on assault and attempted manslaughter charges (the father admitted as much as to wanting to kill the man who helped his child, which means it was attempted manslaughter).

  36. Melissa June 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

    Sigh, I supposed from now on, the best thing for a man to do in this situation is find a woman and have her help the child. People don’t make the same assumptions when it is a female. So sad, because it’s good for children to see good adult male role models.

  37. WendyW June 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    These days, if one sees an unattended child who is obviously out of place or in distress, it would probably be wise to engage the assistance of a second adult to back up your story before approaching the child. Preferably an adult you don’t already know so that you can’t be accused of collusion to commit a crime.

  38. Sochii June 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    That guy should be arrested for assault. I think it also says a lot about the type of person he is. I’d be willing to bet this isn’t the first time he’s assaulted someone.

  39. James June 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    “Seriously, though, why isn’t this guy being charged with assault and battery?”

    And liable, for spreading these rumors. And a few other things. This father is a jerk with rage issues. I get the instinct to protect, but seriously, this guy is a danger to society.

    At the point where the man leaves town fearing for his life it’s no longer about him wanting to press charges. The police need to get involved–and it needs to be more than a social media blurb!

  40. Crazy Cat Lady June 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Dad is with child in dugout getting “ready” to play soft ball. Dad is in dugout, drinking beers with buddies, child walks away. Dad sees guy with the child, freaks out. Dad beats the guy, cops are called, Dad is told he is “wrong” this person was trying to find the family. Dad, being of a certain type of macho guy, cannot admit that he goofed up – not to his friends, not to family, employer, etc. So he goes on a smear campaign to “prove” he was right all along.

    Makes perfect sense in a very twisted, white male, redneck, way. Doesn’t make it right though.

    This morning NPR ran a segment with James Blake, tennis player, who was tackled by a cop because of his color. He was going to let it slide, but his wife said ” what if this had happened to me?” He decided to sue, and the money went to better training for cops. The victim in this case needs to think about doing the same. A bully is a bully no matter the age.

  41. Julia June 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Frankly, this sounds more serious than just “movie plot thinking.” That father sounds actually unbalanced.

  42. ella June 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    how did the father lose site of his daughter that she was lost. who’s at fault now

  43. Anna June 28, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

    The police should be charging him, not leaving it to be dealt with civilly. Especially since he punched the guy not once but 5 or 6 times, and not while he still had possession of the little girl but after she’d already been handed over to family friends. Given that he already had his daughter back, there’s no possible justification.

  44. LRH June 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    It is funny that when I read stories of teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students, almost always it’s a female. Yet somehow women aren’t stigmatized (nor should they be) yet men are.

    It’s also funny to me how many people stand up for the “stigmatization” of pit bulls when one attacks someone and is then shot, there will be all of these “Justice for Cujo” marches and people sharing photos of their pit bulls interacting lovingly with their kids. Where’s the same “Justice for Anthony” marches here? Are we really so messed up in our morals that we’re collectively more upset at the stigmatizion of a single breed of dog than we are a specific gender of people? A dog’s plight gets us more upset than a human’s plight? That’s just wrong.

  45. Jennifer C June 28, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    @LRH–since Anthony was the one who punched the good Samaritan and smeared his name all over facebook, I fail to see why he needs justice. The one who has the plight is the gentleman who was punched.

  46. Dienne June 28, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

    “It is funny that when I read stories of teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students, almost always it’s a female.”

    I think that’s because there are far more female than male teachers. Also, the media are more likely to get involved when it’s a woman because that’s more of a man bites dog story. But the reality is that, like all sex offenders, male educators are propotionately more likely to sexually abuse students than are female educators (although it needs to be noted that the rates of either male or female teachers abusing students is extremely low).

  47. Arthur Slabosky June 28, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    If you thought that a man calmly walking with your daughter was trying to abduct her, then the thing to do is ask some people to help you detain the man while you call the police. You don’t have the right to assault someone who you think is committing a crime except to prevent physical harm by that person

  48. James Pollock June 28, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    ” You don’t have the right to assault someone who you think is committing a crime except to prevent physical harm by that person”

    It was in Florida. We’re probably lucky there wasn’t gunplay.

    (apologies to however many Floridians this is an unfair characterization of.)

  49. JP Merzetti June 28, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    So much about this is wrong.
    Dad really wants that kind stranger to be exactly what he wants him to be…..needs him to be….craves him to be.
    Just like a kid desperately believing there really is a Santa Claus.
    Just proves how righteously wrong a human can be.

    I myself do believe that there is a natural, innate human instinct – to help a child in distress.
    I also think the world is in real need of preserving this instinct – instead of doing its best to stamp it out.

    Hell, I can’t imagine knowing my own name anymore, if I didn’t hang on to that instinct.
    But there’s the choice: chicken enough to cave in to all those damned “what ifs”
    or brave enough to just go ahead and do what your conscience tells you is the right thing to do.

    I hope this kind stranger has someone in his life capable of praising him for his bravery.

  50. Gina June 28, 2017 at 10:54 pm #

    “Today, faced with same situation, I’d do the same thing because I’m just ornery enough to believe that doing the right thing is always worth it.”

    Bravo Steve. I would too!

  51. MichaelF June 28, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

    Looks like Dad is feeling the heat on Facebook

    Sorry, this content isn’t available right now
    The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.

  52. sexhysteria June 29, 2017 at 1:24 am #

    This was an excuse for gratuitous violence. At that moment the dad wasn’t protecting his daughter or aiding the police. He was expressing the lowest tendency of human nature: hurt somebody if you can get away with it.

  53. LRH June 29, 2017 at 1:35 am #

    Jennifer C. Sorry, I got the names mixed up. Obviously the good Samaritan is whom I meant is deserving of justice. The father needs to spend some time in jail and the people smearing the name of the Good Samaritan should be held accountable for libel.

  54. MR June 29, 2017 at 3:30 am #

    A few years ago my toddler somehow wandered off at a busy city fair while we all cleaned our hands after visiting the farm animals; she was with me washing her hands one second and give the next.

    We wandered around the tent looking for her and my oldest spotted her walking with a man who was holding her hand. The first thing I thought when I saw her was how thankful I was that she had been found by a kind stranger who was helping her find us before she had wandered out of the tent. It was pretty obvious he was helping her look around, as I assume it would have been in this case too.

  55. SKL June 29, 2017 at 6:09 am #

    How is seeing your daddy in a fistfight supposed to help a little girl?

    Crazy, my dad managed to raise 3 daughters who have never seen him hit or even raise his voice at anyone.

  56. Amy June 29, 2017 at 6:11 am #

    I was at a Walmart about 12 years ago. As I walked out of the store I saw a toddler standing in the middle of the street wit cars swerving around her. I left my basket, grabbed her hand and walked back to the side walk. I looked around for anyone who looked like they had lost a child or loading their car and I could see nothing obvious. I called out asking people if they had lost a child. I asked her if she could see her family. I decided to take her to customer service so they could make an announcement in case she had wandered out of the store. I waited around a while. Terrified parents came in and got her. They were angry and upset about kidnapping so the store employees did not point me out to them for which I was grateful. I may have saved that little girl’s life, I took her to a safer place, admittedly inside and not outside, but I could not think of a better option. I did not have a cell phone at the time so the only way to contact police was to go inside.

  57. Donald June 29, 2017 at 6:46 am #

    “Because we have this MOVIE PLOT SCENARIO on infinite-loop in our brains, telling us that this is how children get abducted: In public, by strangers.”

    I LOVE THIS LINE!

    Most people think that tv drama is entertainment that has no repercussions. However, this story shows that it’s more like smoking. Each cigarette/tv show does a small amount of damage.
    The CNN fake news is a big think now. I’m thrilled that it’s been exposed but I also think, “So what? This is like being surprised to find out that Gilligan’s Island is fake”!

    I sort of feel sorry for news networks and papers. They’re between a rock and a hard place. That’s because so much of the public demand this crap even they know it’s fake. If the news doesn’t supply their infotainment then they’ll turn to Facebook to find the ‘truth’. (who cares if it’s true as long as it’s entertaining)

  58. Crazy Cat Lady June 29, 2017 at 9:15 am #

    Amy, I was on the other end of that, about 12 years ago with my son. Only….the store was at fault. We were at Walmart, a good distance from home, with a friend and 4 kids. My son was a runner. After we made our purchases, we went to McDonalds, in store, to have a burger so the kids would not be cranky on the long trip home.

    When we went to leave the problems began. The “greeter” wanted to see my receipt. I couldn’t find it, and when I let go of my son’s hand, he ran. The greeter INSISTED that I stay and not get my son, the friend was wrangling the other 3 kids. I finally just left the cart and went outside to find my son who found the gumball machines.

    I then had to go back inside and find that receipt, which I was able to do, but told the lady that had my kid gotten hit by a car, it would have been her fault. This was the first time that the store had done this receipt checking, or I would have kept it handy instead of shoving it to the bottom of one of my bags. I would have been really grateful to anyone who brought my son back in. But I was so mad at the situation, that I am not sure that would have come across.

  59. Amyd June 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    When my youngest was two she escaped in the mall (she was following her sister to the bathroom and I was packing up our stuff). When I got to the bathroom I asked where she was and it turned out that she ran past the bathroom, throug the hallway that lead to the other side of the mall. It was insanely busy that day so I couldn’t find her . I was asking if anyone had seen a little girl run by and every single one of hem (all men btw) pointed into the direction she ran. I could not believe that no one stopped her. No one helped her find her parents. Then a friend explained that because they were men they were probably afraid of being predators. Thankfully a lady had taken her by the hand and was walking her to find me.

  60. Alanna Mozzer June 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    This reminds me of the time my daughter and I found a baby at a park. We were at the park playground and two other adults were there as were two other children. When the two adults left, they took only one child with them. I realized they must have thought the baby was mine. This was a baby, not a toddler. She was still not talking. OK, so it was then just me, my daughter and this baby at the playground. I did not see anyone else nearby, but a few hundred yards away I could see a large group of people picnicking. I decided to bring the baby there so see if anyone would claim her. My daughter and I took the baby over to the picnickers and asked someone if they recognized the child. They pointed out her mother to me, and I brought the baby over to her. I think that the mom had been distracted and probably never dreamed in a million years that her child would crawl all the way to the playground. She had a look of surprise on her face.

    No one punched me, but then this was about seventeen years ago and I was a female with my own young child. Now that I think about it no one jumped to the incorrect conclusion that I was kidnapping my own child either (She’s adopted and doesn’t look anything like me.).

  61. Papilio June 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    If I were a grown man in a situation like that, I think I’d get other people involved ASAP. Make sure there are as many witnesses as possible who see and hear you and know you’re trying to find the kid’s parent, and ask them to join you, so you’re not this one guy walking ‘away’ with a child. Put that kid on your neck so they can see and be seen. In Clive Peachy’s situation, flag down other drivers or take the child to the nearest houses and ring doorbells until someone answers. With a bit of luck they even know the child.
    (But yes, easy for me to say, hindsight is 20/20, etc.)

    My newspaper has this advice column every Saturday in which they publish a letter from an anonymous person with a problem, asking what would you do, and two weeks later republish with a number of answers, also from the public.
    This past Saturday it was from a divorced father whose ex let a male, childless friend babysit the children. The father didn’t ‘like his kids being used as guinea pigs to prove that adult men can be babysitters without bad intentions’. Six answers (two from male childless babysitters) were published, all basically saying he was wrong to distrust this man solely for being male and/or distrust their mother’s gut instinct. One said he was probably overreacting but they could understand his concerns and he should get to know the guy, and one adviced him to just ask the kids in a non-biased way about their weekend and what they’d done and how they liked the babysitter, and use his dad instinct.

  62. Rachael June 29, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    Ummm, does a kidnapper usually take the child around to find their family before running off with them?
    If I didn’t think it would tear apart yet another family, I would hope this father was charged with assault, that attack was completely uncalled for. But we all know it would not end well no matter the outcome, I hope they at least apologize to the Good Samaritan.

  63. Hazel July 1, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    @LRH

    “It is funny that when I read stories of teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students, almost always it’s a female. Yet somehow women aren’t stigmatized (nor should they be) yet men are. ”

    Don’t sugar-coat it. It’s not just an “inappropriate relationship”, it’s rape. Women who do that are rapists unless the students is over the age of consent. If the student is over the age of consent, that’s an inappropriate relationship, abuse of her position and severe misconduct.

  64. Andy July 1, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    It’s Florida, what do you expect.

  65. Dingbat July 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    I feel so bad for this guy.

    This is scary. I’ve been coming across more & more articles about parents spreading false attempted abduction & trafficking stories all over social media and few parents involved are willing to believe police when they tell them the reports are not true.

    We’ve known parents have been unwilling to believe statistics for some time but when they outright start rejecting the police telling them that the stories they are spreading all over social media are false and creating hysteria, along with angry mobs… you need to watch them closely.

    The idea that the police are in on it and covering up a ring of child abductors & traffickers is the basis of a long standing conspiracy theory.

  66. Dingbat July 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    * along with forming angry mobs

  67. steve bowes July 3, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    I’m a middle aged white man (with a beard!), so sadly I never help children I don’t know.