Most of us have a memory of getting lost as a young child. I remember the first time I couldn’t find my parents. I was probably about six years old and I was playing in the Barbie section at K-Mart. My mom kept telling me it was time to go but obviously, as a five-year-old child, I was too busy. She went into the aisle next to me to give me a little scare and boy did she! I took off running and hid inside one of those round clothing displays the stores use to have because I didn’t want anyone to see how hard I was crying. I’m sure you can remember the frightening feeling you had when you couldn’t find mom or dad and then the feeling you had once you finally saw your parents.
As parents, we take our kids out in public all the time. Some places are obviously more crowded than others, but the panic that comes over us when we don’t see our child is the same in a crowd of 50 or a crowd of 50,000. So when I recently spent a few days in Walt Disney World for a sponsored retreat and saw a mother panicking as she was looking for her six-year-old son, I couldn’t help but feel helpless.
I was standing in front of Casey’s Corner on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom when I heard a mother’s hysterical plea for help in finding her son. She had two officers with her and was showing them a photo of him. I was desperately trying to listen to what the child was wearing so that maybe, just maybe, I could somehow start going through the shops looking for the lost little boy. I put myself in the mother’s shoes and it’s what I would hope for if this unfortunately ever happened to me.
As she was crying with the officers, a lady in a suit with a Disney nametag on (I’m guessing a manager of some sort) came up with another cast member with a little boy. The mom looked down and immediately grabbed the little boy in her arms and they both started crying together. I have a feeling she wanted to both strangle and smother him all at once. The lady in the suit and the cast member bent down and hugged both the mom and the little boy and together, they all four sobbed together.
Even though I didn’t know a single person involved, I couldn’t help but break down in tears myself not only for the mom and the child – but because the Disney employees had emotionally vested their time and their feelings in finding this lost little boy and reuniting him with his mother. This is just another one of those overwhelming examples of the Magic at Disney.
What have you taught your kids about what to do if they get lost? Do you have any advice for parents on how to find a lost child.
Technology Traveling Mom had this tip after a visit to Disney last summer: We worried about my 6-year-old getting lost since she has a tendency to lag behind or wander off if something catches her eye. Although we set a ‘meeting point’ for our family at each park in case we got separated, I knew she’d panic if she lost sight of us. So we used an ID tag machine at a store in Downtown Disney to print out an ID tag necklace with her name and our cell phone numbers on it and we had her wear it under her shirt whenever we were in the parks. If she got lost, she was to find the nearest cast member and show them her ‘necklace’. I figured it’s a great souvenir for her too (she still wears it around since it’s got characters printed on the other side) and we can use it again anywhere we go for years to come – or at least until she’s got our cell #’s memorized.
Great tip Deb! Thanks for sharing!
Have you ever been accidentally separated from your child, even for just a few moments? What was it like and what did you do?
Amanda is a freelance writer and blog owner of “The Procrastinating Mommy” – a PR friendly family blog. You can also follow her on Twitter at: @Amanda_aka_Mom or on Facebook at: The Procrastinating Mommy.