The Lost Child In The Library

This morning I was in the library browsing through the shelves, when I became aware of a small child calling ‘Mummy’ in an increasingly panicky tone of voice.  It was a little girl, probably about 2 ½ or 3 years of age, and by the time I turned round, her eyes had filled with tears, and she was twisting her head this way and that, desperately shouting ‘Mummy’ at the top of her voice.

I went over to her, crouched down and asked if she would like me to help her find her Mummy. She nodded, still crying, and reached for my hand. I asked her name (Molly) and looked around, fully expecting to see a panicked mother appearing any second, searching for her daughter.

When, after half a minute or so, nobody had appeared, Molly and I went into the children’s part of the library where I was aware a mother and toddler session was taking place. It was quite busy, and Molly was still crying, so I stopped in the middle of the room and asked loudly ‘Does anybody know who this little girl belongs to, she’s lost her Mummy’.

General concern ensued, but nobody knew her, or whose child she was, so Molly and I returned, hand in hand, past an exit door directly onto the street, into the main part of the library. We looked around a bit more, but no sign of anybody who had lost a child. We went into the adjoining café, and I asked again loudly for Molly’s mother. No reply.

I crouched down again to comfort Molly, who was by this time sobbing quite loudly. To be honest, I was quite worried myself by this point that several minutes had gone by and nobody appeared to be looking for her.

I was at a bit of a loss what to do next, so headed for the main entrance of the library to speak to one of the staff. As we entered the main hallway, Molly broke away from me, shouted ‘Mummy’ and rushed over to the desk, where a couple (presumably her parents) were chatting away to the librarian. She grabbed hold of her mother’s leg, looked back at me, and the biggest smile came over her face – ‘Here’s my mummy’, she said to me.

Her mummy, completely oblivious, continued her conversation with the librarian.

I went over, tapped her on the shoulder, and said ‘Is Molly your little girl?’. ‘Yes’, she replied, looking a bit non-plussed. ‘Well, I’ve just spent the last few minutes looking round the library with her for you, because she was lost and crying’. ‘Oh, OK,’ the mother replied. Clearly not in the least interested.

So off I went.

But I can’t stop thinking about that little girl. I just know that, when William was that age, if he had disappeared from my sight for more than about 15 seconds in a public place, I would have been as terrified as he was. And I think most parents would be as well.

Had I not been me, had I been somebody who wished to cause harm to that child, I could have been out of the door with her trusting little hand in mine, away up the street, into the adjacent car park and into my car, before those parents had even realized that she was missing.

It’s food for thought, isn’t it?


17 thoughts on “The Lost Child In The Library

  1. Stories like this make my blood boil. Most parents has ‘lost’ their child in a shop or similar on some occasion but will usually be found franctically searching but for this parent to have barely noticed is shocking. Thank the lord you were there and no some nutter.

    Victoria x

  2. Even reading this my stomach was churning Caroline – my greatest fear in life is that my own little girl would ever get lost. I may be one of those over protective mums that needs to have her with me all of the time but I’d rather be that than go through the gut wrenching anxiety of turning round and her not with me!!!!! Thank goodness you were near by and managed to help find this little girls parents for her – their response shocked me, I think I’d have both you and her hugged to within an inch of your lives! I’m just so glad you found her and not some weirdo!!! Good deed done, but something like that really does linger with you for quite some time, hopefully they’ll keep Molly close in future and realise the blessing they’ve been bestowed with!! K xo

  3. That made me feel quite ill too and very cross. I once found a little girl in the same situation in a supermarket and said I would take her to the lady who would help us find her Mum, customer services. As we set off the little girl took my hand and for some reason I felt quite guilty walking towards the desk which was right next to the exit door imagining the Mum if she appeared might get the wrong idea. My story ended well when the Mum appeared after a public announcement but it’s all mad isn’t it, I feel awkward helping, the Mum in your situation didn’t give a toss.

  4. Oh yes. I never ever felt anything like the panic when one of mine was out of sight – especially in a shop – even for just 10 seconds. That you had to go around asking is just ridiculous. The fact that the ‘mummy’ didn’t say thank you to you – that says it all really. Like you said, in the wrong hands……

  5. Idiots! Sadly the world is full of them. My sister and I once found a child…about one year old and wearing only a diaper…walking down the middle of the street. It was a side street off of a very busy road. Another person stopped as well, and the police were called. Baby had walked out an unsecured door, and in the thirty minutes or so (that we were waiting for police and to see what happened) no parent had even missed it yet. One has to be tested and licensed to drive a car (though Lord knows there are horrible drivers our there), but any moron is allowed to walk out of the maternity ward with a baby!

  6. Downright frightening! That Mom deserves a swift kick in the pants. Children can get out of sight of anyone in an instant. But to not notice and then to wave away what the child was doing and what you were saying like it was nothing…God bless. Prayers for little Molly and her mom. I was browsing throught the AtoZ sign up list and found you. Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    • Hi Barbara – thank you for visiting. You’re right – children can disappear in an instant, particularly little ones. But the mother’s attitude just frightened me, really. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  7. I know at the same age, I’d have had the child sat up on the desk in front of me while I talked. What’s so important to talk to a librarian about that it takes both parents full time attention?

  8. People like that don’t deserve to have children. When you think of the hoops people have to jump through to be approved for fostering and adoption (and rightly so), but anyone who can easily produce a child can it appears treat it any old way without reproach. Thank god you were there.

  9. That story sends a chill trough my body! some people! Like you say if someone wanted to they could have taken that little girl and been quite a way away before her parents noticed! How very rude of them and thank goodness you found her ! Thank goodness that she came to no harm,it could have been a very different story. Dawn x

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