When a young mum was on a family day out with her sister, the unthinkable happened, and a child went missing. Amazingly, quick-thinking strangers stepped in and saved the day.
Missing in a minute
Vicky Hamilton-Ross and her sister Lucinda were at the seaside town of Bournemouth when Lucinda let go of her four-year-old son Jake’s hand for a minute or two. When she turned around to retake his hand, Jake was gone. The distressed mums tried to stay calm as they began calling Jake’s name, attracting the attention of event staff.
“Within a matter of minutes an army cadet who was stewarding the event spotted Lucinda and immediately asked what had happened and who she was looking for,” Vicky writes on her blog.
“He wasted no time, and himself and the other guys stewarding started shouting ‘we are looking for a boy’ – ‘He is 4yrs old, blonde and in a red T-shirt. Have you seen him?’ They repeated this loudly and continuously as they covered the areas nearby.”
“A real rocket ship”
Vicky says this approach – acting quickly and shouting a description of Jake “loudly and constantly” – saved her nephew from harm.
“Now this may seem an obvious and simple thing, but the quick timing and detail they shouted are undoubtedly what saved him,” Vicky wrote.
“Within about 15 minutes they found him a little further down the beach.
You’re probably thinking this is just a little boy who wandered off.
“Unfortunately not,” Vicky wrote. “The detail Jake gave would make any parents blood run cold.”
“There was a bald man in a white T-shirt. He said he would take me to see a real rocket ship,” Vicky said her son told her.
“He wasn’t inclined to lie as a child and this seemed very genuine.”
Descriptive, loud and constant
Vicky said the police suspected Jake’s abduction – which happened several years ago – was the act of an opportunist. Now, the family is sharing their story in the hope that it gives other parents and carers information on how to respond if their child goes missing.
Vicky urges parents to immediately implement this ‘descriptive, loud and constant’ response if they find themselves in a similar situation – even if they think their child has just wandered off – because it saved Jake.
“By very quickly shouting out the description of Jake and that he was lost, it meant the guy couldn’t leave the beach without being spotted, so he just left Jake and walked away,” Vicky explained on her blog.
“I would urge every parent to do this immediately, even if you suspect they are just around the corner. What’s the worst that could happen? That you’re slightly embarrassed because they hadn’t gone anywhere? Well worth that risk.”
If a child goes missing, remember this ‘descriptive, loud and constant’ rule.