Helped a little girl tonight, feel bad that I did it...Not feeling so bad anymore :)

So DH and I are out walking our dog tonight as we do every night and we have a system that DH runs around the block one way and I go the opposite and we meet in the middle and walk the rest of the way home. We usually meet up at this certain street and head home, only tonight he didn’t go the usual way he goes so we ended up meeting a block sooner than normal. Now we sometimes take this block but only once in a blue moon. So he meets up with us and we head down the street.

We almost get the end of the block when we hear this little voice calling for her dad to let her in the house. Odd, quite odd. So, being a woman, I of course stop and listen again. She’s banging on the door and calling for her dad to open up the door. Now we can’t see her as the house is a 3 family and the back porches are enclosed. She keeps banging and we keep waiting for the door to open, it doesn’t. So we sit and wait for about a minute and a half and then my ‘instincts’ kick in and I start to wonder if she’s got a coat on. She didn’t.

So I hand the dog off to my DH and head up the steps, calling out to her if she was okay and needed any help. She was up on the 2nd floor and I start walking up the stairs and she peeks down and tells me she’s okay but her dad doesn’t hear her. So I get up to her, she’s not even 7 years old, it’s 30 degrees out, wind blowing and she’s standing there banging on the door in her sock-footed feet and just a bath robe on over her jammies.

Oy, my goodness I almost took my coat off and wrapped her in it. So I ask her again if she’s okay and she says yes, that her Dad was in another room on the computer. So I open the screen door and bang quite hard on the storm, which opens immediately as it wasn’t closed to begin with. She just couldn’t open the screen door. I think height was an issue. So the door opens and I scoot her inside and the dog greets me with a tail wag and I panic thinking it’s going to bite me, then…her Dad walks into the kitchen.

He looks at me like I’m a criminal. So 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.

Here’s where I feel bad, I feel like I did something wrong. I keep telling myself that I did the right thing, but at the same time there’s this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t have done it. But we couldn’t just walk away and let a little girl cry for her Dad in the cold. I knew he knew I wasn’t lying when he looked at her face when he asked if she was really on the porch. That’s why I left. I get the whole “OMG there’s a total stranger in my open doorway claiming my daughter was out on the porch in the dark”, but if I were a ‘bad person’ would I have knocked as loudly as I did? He was there in like 3 seconds.

Did I do the right thing? If DH hadn’t changed his route we never would have gone down that street. I hate that I feel this way. I did something good and I feel bad. Did I do the right thing?

You 100% did the right thing. Just think of how much time might have actually passed had you not heard that poor thing, and, what could have happened. I’m sure it was a shock to him, but possibly more so because, it seems, he had no idea the little girl was even out of the house!

All that matters is you know your intentions, and, that girl is safe in her home. I’m sure her father talked to her more about what happened and the girl told him exactly what happened. He should be grateful you happened to hear her!

Inserting oneself into other’s affairs is very uncomfortable for some. Perhaps that’s why you feel bad. Perhaps you just were outside your comfort zone. You assisted a child in need. You did right. Good job.


You did the right thing! Any time you take care of a child’s needs, you do the right thing. She would have stood there forever knocking, unable to let herself in, with her dad not hearing! YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. :grphug:


Being a protective mom I can understand the dad’s point of view, however you did do the right thing! I would go over another time during the day and speak to him. Acknowledge his fears and then tell him that being a mom you were concerned when you heard a child crying out for a parent so you went to see if she was okay and that you just wanted to help. He may still be weird, but in the light of day and a few days thought he should be okay and feel good that there are good people in the world.

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.

I think you did the right thing.

:hug: You did the right thing!! :hug:

Thanks everyone for your reasurrances, it means a lot. Really, it does. I still feel a little off about the whole situation, but knowing you all would have done the same makes it a lot less confusing for me. :hug:

I think Gertie said it exactly right. You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. As a parent, I would initially be pretty surprised by the situation, too. That’s natural. But it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It’s just the way of things. Perhaps the dad is an introvert and not good at talking to strangers- especially unexpectedly like that. He was probably also feeling bad about his little girl being stuck outside in the cold. I think you did fine, though. I think these days, people are surprised when a stranger offers help.

You absolutely did the right thing! I know that I would be freaked out if some stranger had poked their head in my door, but that poor little girl must have been very cold and scared. The dad will get over it–the important thing is that the little girl is safe and warm because of you.

You did the right thing for sure…

I am so sad that the world is the way it is sometimes…If you are in a teaching or educational environment and a child is crying, you are not to hug them, if you see an emergency…you are to call the authorities…

They are really signs of the times…yes there are exceptions to every rule, and perhaps they are all necessary precautions, but sometimes it breaks my heart…

I was told by someone recently that there is even a thing as third party sexual harrassment…meaning that even though there maybe, for an example, two ppl consentually hugging…a third person viewing it all may feel uncomfortable by it…where does it stop?

Last year or so I stopped to help an old lady on a country road, her car had broken down and houses are fairly spaced out there. She accepted a ride back to her house, and was greatful for it, but I couldn’t help thinking in the back of my mind that maybe it was a bad idea…maybe she would think I was an abductor, maybe she would hijack me…I mean both of them really horrible to think…in the end…she got back to her house safe and sound…and I went on my way feeling good, but still feeling like I was lucky that nothing bad happened…sigh

Yes…you did the right thing…!

You did the right thing. I, myself would have gone the route that Artlady said but I think it boils down to my past experiences with things like that.

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 went to my folk dance group as usual. I took my daughter, my almost 4 yr old son wasn’t ready to go in time and I left him at home with his dad. After class we went to Walmart to pick up cat litter & a few other things- it was 10 something at night.

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. I am seriously panicking, and ran out of the store. I called 911- then called my husband back while we are frantically driving home. 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. (My son had showed her where he lived.) Thank goodness she stopped and picked him up- but she obviously freaked out.

It turns out- my son went looking for me because he wanted to go to class. It was 30 degrees out, he was barefooted, in his jammies and had gone up my street and down another! She said to the police (I never talked to her) that she found him in the road and almost hit him with the car. (this is still really hard to talk about)

911 said the police had him- 2 cops showed up and were complete dicks. I asked where he was- I was really still freaking out but trying to keep calm)- turns out he was being held up the street. They told me I didn’t need to be worried about him being driven around without a car seat, ( I didn’t know if he was 7 miles away at the station or what- we live way out in the county) that I needed to be concerned about him being outside like that. (are you kidding me- I was completely horrified- worse than I have EVER been in my life!) They brought him back.

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.

Next thing you know, CPS is leaving notes on the door trying to catch us home. We got investigated. (I am a Girl Scout leader, for crying out loud! I understand but it was terrible to go through.) The investigator was right out of college. I relaxed a little when she told me her brother did the same thing at the same age- but back then people just brought kids back home.

Whew. Needless to say- we deadbolt lock him in every night now. He is 5, and hasn’t tried to get back outside, but he LOVED riding in the police car, and doesn’t seem to have been afraid at all. He still talks about it. He just said "I was out looking for you, mom.)

I have about 20 gray hairs now.

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. They came to talk to my daughter (she was 11 then) at school. I spent the night for 2 nights lying in front of the door to make sure he didn’t try it again before we could get the deadbolt with the inside lock (with a key- we had the turn kind that he had climbed up on a chair and opened.) We are very caring and helpful parents who volunteer in the community, don’t take drugs, etc. This situation made our life a living hell for weeks. (although I am thankful because it could have been much, much worse.)

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.

Yes, I know there are people out there who con others all the time, but that isn’t this situation. She didn’t act scared of him he didn’t grab her or anything like that. He was genuinely shocked that she was out there. And I really hate that I feel like I did do the right thing, yet at the same time I don’t. I do know if I had left her out there I would have never fell asleep last night. So I guess I did do the right thing. I’m sure this naggy feeling will go away soon.

And I do get the whole shocked thing of a stranger standing on your porch and all, I do. I’m not saying he did anything wrong, but I still hate that he made me feel this way. I know I would have reacted the same way he did. I hate the way the world is now. You know, 20 yrs ago you could help someone’s kid and not think twice about it and now you can’t.

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. Say my dd manages to break an arm and I have to go to the ER. There is the possibility that the ER doc will check me out and my file will come up. Despite the fact that there was no evidence of abuse, they will know that someone accused me once of having abused my dd and it will be an issue despite the fact that the case was closed.

I started writing this post before I got a chance to read Renee’s story but my experience was similar to hers in that we also had to endure months of hell after Social Services got involved.

So intervening on the behalf of the child was the right thing to do for sure. I also think you did the right thing in handling it yourself and not calling the authorities to step in. It would have been a different story if you had seen obvious signs that there was something amiss.


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.

Now that he has had a little time to think about it he probably doesn’t feel the same way. I think he felt threatened and surprised. I know I felt very upset at the woman who took my son in her car- but I quickly realized she was scared and just reacting.

You definitely did the right thing- and I bet dad realizes it now.

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.

Exactly. Not to mention that as the detective called my job- everyone found out there. I thought it was better to tell them once the call came in- so they wouldn’t suspect worse. Also- my daughters school was notified to pull her out of class- and they probably couldn’t tell her teacher why. So now they know we were investigated, but don’t know what happened and suspect the worst. I also had to notify Girl Scouts as I work with children and am background checked. I thought I would lose my troop possibly- and I wasn’t even home when this all happened!

My poor husband has beat himself to death over it. And it wasn’t neglectful, and could happen to anyone. I wasn’t mad at him.

Susan thanks for sharing your story too.

Oh gosh! Every little kid has done that, but these days it can get parents in huge trouble.

This past summer my tenant’s little 3 year old daughter walked out of the house at 6:00 AM. Long stort short, my dog was instrumental and discovering this and finding her.

Because my dog is a Rottweiler folks were telling me to call the media because Rotties get such a bad rap and my Cyrus is a hero, etc.

NO WAY! I know my tenants are loving, responsible parents and it would have hurt them.

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.