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Old 11-18-2008, 04:05 PM   #21
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I have to agree with Mike- and I would never call 911 in a situation like that without good cause. I too have seen, though thankfully not personally experienced, the havoc that it can cause to an innocent family.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:12 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mike View Post
I would've pushed it so far that she would have a kidnapping of a child investigation on her rap sheet. If the locals wouldn't have done it I would've went to the FBI.
Once she went to your door she turned it from being a good samaritan into being malicious and since she knew your husband thought the kid was in bed she was being malicious without reason.
There's no reason you should be the only one who gets punished for her stupidity.

You do know that the type of deadbolt you got is not recommended because in the case of fire you're locked in don't you?
You should leave the key in them in a residence which defeats your purpose.
Perhaps a chain would be a better idea.
The police wouldn't tell me who she was. I was so happy to have him back I didn't pursue it.

I have the exact same qualms about a fire. We keep the key on a bookshelf right by the front door that everyone in the house (except him) knows where it is. We've always had a chain really high up on the door but he can undo it (plus it wasn't locked that night because I was still out.) It's a real conundrum- have to make sure he stays in (and perhaps now he has enough sense NOT to leave like that again) but still be able to get out. We have smoke detectors & a fire extiguisher- but I still worry.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ArtLady1981 View Post
Based upon where I live, after ascertaining that the child was young and no coat...I would have dialed 911 and let the police handle the 2nd part. I would have waited on the sidewalk until the police arrived.

Let the Dad explain himself to the cops.

The cops may or may not turn the case over to Social Services who are trained to handle family crisis or just bad parenting. The family may have a record with Social Services. You may not be the first Good Samaritan to report the Dad or parents.

And if nothing is wrong with the whole situation, simply being a thing that can happen to anyone...then the Dad is still "on notice" regarding his child.

And, let me not get shot by a nutty, maybe drugged-out, or drunk, irate Dad.
This is what I was thinking. I don't think you did anything wrong, but I would have worried about what that little girl was walking back into. Why was she in her jammies and robe with no shoes on? Did he put her out of the house like that on purpose? Now, we weren't there so we don't know exactly how he reacted, but, in the future, I'd call the cops and wait until they show up and keep an ear out to make sure she's still banging and yelling and not huddled up in the cold on the porch.

Renee and Susan, I feel really bad for what you went through (and I agree with Mike that I would pressed charges against that woman who came to your house - unbelievable!), but you just never know these days. I trust that this dad was shocked that his daughter was outside, but it still makes me wonder. I might have questioned the little girl a little longer before I knocked on the door. It is a sign of the times that some of us react this way (getting the law involved), but it's not easy to be a good samaritan anymore. If you stop on the road and try to help someone out of a burning car and they get hurt, they can turn around and sue you. No "thanks for saving my life", but a lawsuit! Is it worth it when I can dial 911 and protect myself and someone else?
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:41 PM   #24
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Hi Bailsmom!

I should also add that I think YOU did what was right for you and the circumstances that you were faced with at that time!

You acted prudently, and you acted from your heart.

God Bless You!


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Old 11-18-2008, 05:22 PM   #25
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Your Good Deed Could have put you in Danger!
Originally Posted by bailsmom View Post
I quickly explain that we were walking our dog and we heard her calling for him to open the door and waited and that's why I'm standing there on his porch. He doesn't believe me. I explain again and he looks at his daughter and says "Kayla, are you serious"? He was in shock which I totally understand. So I say my goodbye's and we continue on our walk.


Did I do the right thing?

What you did was more right than wrong. It seems to have an acceptable outcome. I don't know what I would have done in the same situation. You deserve a thank you, but also a caution.

You didn't know or follow the first rule of a fist responder. "Make sure the area is safe before you enter or you may become the next victim."

I don't think anyone has yet given the best answer, but ArtLady had the closest start. Next time, call 911 but assume there maybe someone in the house that may need help.

First, you didn't know the child or the people at the address. It could have gone so wrong. Perhaps the risk was small, you sensed some risk, that is why you were cautious. I believe you judged the greater risk was to the child if you had walked away and no-one else had heard her.

What if the father was hurt and couldn't respond?
What if the "Dad" wasn't her real father, but had abducted her long ago?
What if the child had returned to the wrong door?
What if it had been a crack house?
What if the dog had been protective and taught to defend the owners or home?
What if dad simply had not heard her over the sounds in the house, or if dad was deaf?
What if dad expected his young daughter to be in bed and not outside?

There were so many "what if" that could have had terrible cosequences.

You were brave and knocked. The dog was friendly. The dad was surprised, but did not react with anger or violence. Was the child safe? Was there a lesson learned by father and daughter? Was there punishment? Was there thanks?

Excerpts of other's coments and my thoughts.

Originally Posted by ArtLady1981 View Post
Based upon where I live, after ascertaining that the child was young and no coat...I would have dialed 911 and let the police handle the 2nd part. I would have waited on the sidewalk until the police arrived.


And, let me not get shot by a nutty, maybe drugged-out, or drunk, irate Dad.
Ah, not all those who can not hear a child are nutty, drugged out or drunk. Perhaps dad was deaf? Could dad be injured and unable to resond or move?

Originally Posted by Simply_Renee View Post
100% the right thing, and thank you for not taking her and calling the police.

I know what I am talking about here.

Feb 1, 2007
I get a call from my husband who is screaming and crying that my son is gone- that some lady put him in her car and drove away.
He said the woman came to the door, asked if we had a redheaded boy & where was he. My husband replied- "in his bed!" She said no he isn't, you're a sh*tty dad! When ran to his bed (he had put him down an hour before and had gone to bed himself.)- my son was gone, and she was driving away.
I had to explain everything to the detective who called my work the next day, who told me it had been reported to Child Protective Services but he would call them and explain.
Now that I have read all the responses- let me say I definitely advocate stepping in and helping kids. But be careful not to jump the gun. I could have had my kids taken away while they figured out if it was neglect or not.
So, you didn't press charges against the woman who kidnaped your son and who took it upon herself to judge your husband as "neglectful." (I see Mike also had a similar comment.) You are indeed kind hearted.

I understand your relief that your son was safe and the hurt or fear of having CPS investigate. That was the second crime commited by the woman who took your child, slander. You could follow up with the police to see if you can press charges for kidnapping and slander. You might be able to name the police and CPS as defendants for lible since they acted on the word of a possible kidnapper. They might plea bargan to sealing the file.

I'd want the woman to be required to attend counseling, she may have a past history that she projected onto your son's and husband's situation.

Originally Posted by bailsmom View Post
Thanks for your story Renee.

See, that's why I didn't call the police. I thought about the ramifications of that phone call and I just didn't feel the urgency to make a call that could have made his life quite difficult. If the situation had been different, her walking in the road calling for him, then I would have called the cops. But he was genuinely shocked that she was outside on the porch. I'm a good 'people-reader', actually very good, and he just didn't come across like a drunk or crappy dad.
Originally Posted by zkimom View Post
Originally Posted by ArtLady1981 View Post
Based upon where I live, after ascertaining that the child was young and no coat...I would have dialed 911 and let the police handle the 2nd part. I would have waited on the sidewalk until the police arrived.


And, let me not get shot by a nutty, maybe drugged-out, or drunk, irate Dad.
I understand you did say that your reply was based on where you live but it still raised my hackles a bit. I'm not attacking your answer in any way but responding because of two things that happened to me.

First, when my son was about 4 or so, he managed to get locked outside of the house in his pjs on a pretty cold morning. It was a long time ago so I don't remember the details but I think he thought his dad was out in our studio and went out to see him. The door locked behind him and we didn't hear him calling to us because we were in upstairs and in another part of the house. We finally did hear him and let him inside. He was cold but none the worse for wear.

Not a family crisis or even bad parenting. Just what sometimes happens when you have a little kid around.

The second thing that happened was when someone (I'm pretty sure it was my dd's nursery school teacher) decided that she was going to teach me a lesson for a disagreement we had. She made an anonymous call to social services and accused me of abusing my dd (she was maybe 3 1/2 at the time.) It was a malicious act but one that will follow me for the rest of my life.

You see, once you have an active file with Social Services, even if there is no basis to the case and it goes inactive, it can get brought up at any time.
Ah, that would be slander again. Any witnesses? There is another alternative.

bailsmom et al,
Make the asumption that the person in the house is a good person and needs some help (maybe just to safely alert them that their child needs assistance.) Your safety must come first; that is why you are told, pre-flight, by the attendant that if the air masks deploy, first put yours on then assist others. Because the longer you are alert the more people you can help if they need it.

It is not safe to enter property without the owners permission. You could have been accused of attempted obduction. You could have been bitten by the dog, if it chose to project the home or child. You could have...

Okay, you get the idea.

Here is what I think would have been the best course.

Call 911 for the address on the house. Report that a child is unable to enter the house and the ocupant is unresponsive. They should be able to call the address. It is part of the enhanced 911 service that is now mandated. Was there a life in danger? Was it cold and the child unprotected from the weather? If so then yes, but more likely you didn't know the condition of the person in the house.

Wait until the police arrive. They can safely determine if the dad needed help or just alerted to the childs wandering. The are trained to observe the condition of the house, child, parent, and overall environment. If they see "just cause" then they would call in child protective services or not.

Then, when the child was safely returned to the parent, and the child was given a safety talk, then the parent likely would have ask who called. Then you might have found the local news reporting how two neighbors who had been out for a walk became heros to a cold child and father.

Now, I just hope I can remember the lessons I've learned from this thread.

Thank you all for all your comments.


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Old 11-18-2008, 05:25 PM   #26
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You did the right thing! My DD is three and I'm worried about her getting out. We live on a cul du sac but it is not far from a busy street. You don't have to be a bad mom/dad for a terrible accident to happen but you would never forgive yourself if you had heard that a child had hypothermia after not being able to get herself back in the house.

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Old 11-18-2008, 06:46 PM   #27
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Oy vey Jack. That was quite an unbelievable post that you wrote. And I must say a bit of an overreaction to the situation. The way you apparently think is the reason so many people are afraid to get involved in a situation. The odds of anyone getting shot helping a child is like a million to one.

And FYI: I'm not a first responder. I'm a typical person who tried to do the right thing and help a child who needed help. End of story. And if I would have gotten shot then it would have been my time to leave this earth. I'm sorry you feel as strongly as you do about an innocent situation but you are completely entitled to your opinion.

I don't want to be afraid to help someone in need, I hate that people make me feel this way, it really sucks. To involve the authorities would have been a complete waste of their time. She got locked out, I helped her get inside. Period. I hope that someday if me or my family is in trouble and someone can help us, depending on the circumstances, that they do help us.

And P.S. had the dog bitten me, it would have been MY fault, not theirs. And I would never sue someone because of something I did. Maybe if people would stop suing each other over the dumbest things, people would start helping each other a little more.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:24 PM   #28
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I wonder if part of the reason for peoples responses to the situation is where you live. I live in a rural area and we tend to help each other first whether we know you or not and worry about authority figures later.
We are somewhat of a fear based culture and if you watch too much news where you hear of much of the evil that goes on throughout the world you can start to think it is much more prevalent than it actually is on a per capita basis.
I find that almost all people are good and decent and that parents can lose track of children even in the house very easily.
I would have done the same as you bailsmom, but I wouldn't have felt uncomfortable afterwards. I would think the father would have been so scared about what could have happened to his daughter that he would be scared to let her out of his sight for quite a while.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:06 PM   #29
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You TOTALLY did the right thing!
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:25 PM   #30
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You definitely did the right thing.

I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable, though. It's become scary to try and help a child who is in trouble.

A couple of years ago, I was at my local WalMart in the ladies clothing department, and there was a little girl about 3 or 4 just walking around crying her eyes out. I stopped and asked her if she was lost, and she said yes. Fortunately we were in site of the customer service desk, so I pointed to where the ladies were working and said "will you let me walk you over to the WalMart ladies so they can help find your mommy?" She said yes, so we walked over to the desk and had them page her mom. Well, when Mom showed up, she gave me a look like I'd tried to make off with her kid, and then started yelling at the little girl for not staying with them. I just nodded at the gals behind the counter and went on about my business.

It's sad when you feel weird and creepy about helping a child who is lost, cold, or in a bad situation.....and it makes you wonder how many people just turn around and walk away from the same situation simply so they won't have to get looked at like they're a criminal when all they're trying to do is help.
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