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

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.

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.

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?

Hi Bailsmom! :waving:

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. :heart:

God Bless You! :hug:




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.

[B]You were brave[/B] 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.

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?

So, you didn’t press charges against [B]the woman who kidnaped your son[/B] 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, [B]slander[/B]. 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.


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 [B]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[/B]. 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.[/QUOTE]

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.

–Jack :guyknitting:

Time for some knitting and reflection.

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.


:passedout: 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 [I][U]you are completely entitled to your opinion[/U][/I].

I don’t [I]want[/I] 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.

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.

You TOTALLY did the right thing!:yay:

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.

Ok, I don’t mean to step on any toes here but I must admit I was bothered by a certain post.

The situation bailsmom was in I think provoked a basic fight or flight human response, and, in those situations, a person never knows what they will do, until it happens to them.

When I was young, I always used to tell myself if our house ever caught fire there were certain things I would save such as my animals, photo albums, posters of my favorite band, etc. I had it all planned out. Then, when I was 18, just out of high school, we unfortunately did have a house fire. Know what I saved? Myself. I still beat myself up sometimes because we had a cat, named Blue, and she was sleeping on a couch in my room, (my room was in the basement and the basement was divided by a makeshift wall…the fire was on the side of the basement RIGHT next to my room). As I saw my room fill with smoke I didn’t even think to grab my cat…She was RIGHT THERE, curled up on my couch. I had to run past her to get upstairs to get out of the house. But did I think to grab her? No, I didn’t. The only thing going through my head was to get out of that house or be engulfed in smoke. There were also checks in my room, graduation checks worth hundreds of dollars that I hadn’t even had a chance to deposit yet. Did I think of the hundreds of dollars in checks waiting to be cashed? Nope, sure didn’t.

My point is, you can plan and plan and plan, but until you are faced with certain situations, you do what comes naturally to you no matter what you always told yourself you’d do or what plans you made.

All I can say is I completely back what bailsmom did, and I think most anyone who saw a child in a potentially dangerous situation would do the same without even contemplating the risk to themselves. And THAT is what hero’s are made from. They put the safety of others before themselves, remove themselves from their comfort zones to help a person in need.

No one has the foresight to know exactly how a situation is going to turn out…Sometimes things turn out fine, sometimes they don’t, but don’t judge someone without walking in their shoes.

I for one applaud bailsmom for what she did, despite the personal risks, and can say with 100% certainty I would have done the exact same thing.

And, if bailsmom can look back, and know in her heart that if she were faced with the situation again, and she would do it exactly the same, again, then she made the right choice and no one has the right to criticize her.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

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.

Standard procedure is- in finding a child unattended and dressed inappropriately, CPS must be called. Even if the police understand it was a mistake, they are obligated to report it- “just cause” or not. If there was just cause, they would remove the child right then and not release him/her back to the parents. The detective told me they didn’t want to report it- but they were required to. He said he would talk to CPS and they probably wouldn’t even come out and would close it. They came out anyway.

I am definitely with Demonica on this one. As for me, I’ll be d*mned if I ever DON’T stop to help someone. I refuse to be afraid to help other people. And if that lands me in trouble, so mote it be. I’m not trying to come across harshly- this is just me standing up for what I believe in.

Pheww! (wiping the sweat off my brow :teehee: ) Oh thank you all again for your support and continued reassurance with this whole situation. I’m feeling a whole lot better about it this morning. I asked DH last night when he came home if he thought I did the right thing and he looked at me like I was crazy. :teehee: It didn’t even take him 1 second to say yes. Which I knew he did, but that darn feeling was really taking over my thoughts yesterday.

And then we took our pup for her walk last night and we avoided the house as I wasn’t completely comfortable yet (thinking the police would be waiting for me there :wink: ) and we were walking up the sidewalk talking and then he says, “Oh hey, the cops are here for you!” I looked up and there was a cop car with his lights on (not flashing just lightly on so you could see he was a cop) I nearly had a stroke! Then I hit him a couple of times as he stands there laughing at me. Brat. :teehee: The cop was turning around on the road we were walking on.

If I were faced with the same situation I would most definitely do the same thing again knowing full well the consequences. I’d rather feel funny for a few days then live with the “what if” senario for the rest of my life.

:muah: You all rock! Thank you so much for your support. :muah:

I agree 100%! I know you know this already, but just wanted to say again- you absolutely did the right thing. I applaud you for putting the child’s needs before your own comfort. If more people behaved this way, the world would be a better place.

Bailsmom, I read Demonica’s post this morning and I felt bad that my post may have been construed as criticizing you. I didn’t mean it that way at all. It was just my opinion of what I would have done nothing more than that. Helping a child is always a good deed. I’m usually an optimist, but I just wouldn’t have made the choice to walk around the back of a building that I’m not familiar with, much less leaving my husband on the street waiting for me. I would have demanded that he come along so I had back-up in case things got hairy. But, I’m certainly not criticizing you and it all worked out fine and I’m sure that girl was happy to be back in the house and warm. You did good!

911 is not there to protect us against lawsuits. And it’s not there for the improbable “what ifs”. It’s for emergency situations and they should be called only when you truly fear for a person’s safety, or for your own.

Bailsmom, you totally did the right thing. This little girl was obviously trying to go back inside the house, calling for her dad, and you asked her many times if she was ok. I think you judged the situation correctly. I had to call 911 twice in my life, and I can tell you waiting 5 minutes for someone to answer when you need help is absolutely horrible. :pout: I really wish people didn’t call 911 “just in case”. There are usually other resources you can use instead.

Well said Demonica! It is always good to have a plan, but when it all boils down to it, you do what you have to do! It is amazing what life pushes us to do when put in comprimising positions…ppl live though war, famine, depressions, etc…

We can all shake our heads and say we would or wouldn’t do something, but in the end…you really don’t know til it happens. How many ppl say “I would never touch poo” but as soon as you get that puppy or baby home, you are happy to do it!

Being in Guides for many years, I have dealt with every sort of parent in the world. All of them were well intentioned, but I got heat for stuff that really had nothing to do with me in the end…(got reemed for asking if badgework was done - it was just that the mother was dying of cancer, got reemed for leaving a Pathfinder leader postion - it had to do with the kid really likeing me as a leader, etc) that father was probably upset mostly with himself for not noticing what was going on with his kid, and you were the closest outlet…end of story…he probably took it out on her, he obviously took it out on you…but really…he was likely mad at him…

I completely understand your position as I am one of the most cautious people you will ever meet. I don’t take risks - EVER. But I have this thing called a ‘gut-feeling’ that seems to find me whenever I need it, and most times when I don’t expect it. And my gut didn’t tell me to keep walking, it told me to stop. I would have never gone and helped her if I felt at any second my life was in danger. It was completely lit up in the back and the direction we were walking was from the back of their house to the front. So the back porches were in the open and again, lit up quite nicely and I didn’t have to walk down a dark side of a house, it faced the street. And my DH would never have let me go alone if he felt it wasn’t safe. He wasn’t more than 30 feet away from me the whole time. Granted he couldn’t see me as I was on the 2nd floor, but if anything would have happened he would have been able to get to me in seconds. And he would have let my dog go get me too. :slight_smile:

I appreciate your clarification. :grphug:

You can’t believe how many times I’ve argued with people about how 911 is not the number to the police station, it is an [U]emergency[/U] number only.
"But it goes to the same place."

And if you didn’t gather it, I think you did the right thing, bailsmom.

Yep, you did the right thing. You assisted a young child in need.