Two daycare workers in Tampa, Florida, were fired Friday after forgetting a 4-year-old girl inside a broken-down van, according to ABC Action News.
After two employees at the Orient Road Child Development Center picked up three infants and a 4-year-old girl – Mykayla Wilkin – on the morning of January 20, they were heading back to the daycare center when the van they were traveling in got a flat tire on Harney Road.
The Orient Road Child Development Center sent a replacement van and upon its arrival, the daycare workers – whose names have not been released to the public – began transferring the children into the operable vehicle before heading back to the daycare center, leaving the 4-year-old girl alone in the broken-down van.
It was reported that the child had fallen asleep in the backseat and when she awoke an hour later, everyone on board was gone. Wilkin began walking down the busy road in an effort to get back to the daycare center.
4-year-old child left on daycare bus after it gets a flat tire in Tampa https://t.co/iFGk5gDsWZ
— dede keene (@dedekeene) January 21, 2017
At around 11 a.m., Wilkin arrived at the Hillsborough County schools transportation building.
A worker brought the girl inside and called her parents, which was “a phone call that a parent doesn’t want to get,” said the girl’s mother, Mikesha Beasley, adding that “when someone calls you and tells you, ‘we don’t know where your child is at. We haven’t seen her, we can’t find your child.'”
She went on to say that “my baby could’ve got hit. Not even hit, a 4-year-old stuck in a van with no air. She could’ve suffocated.”
“Someone could’ve snatched my baby or anything. That’s why I’m kind of happy that it did go the way it did. I’m okay. I’m all right. I’m glad she’s okay, and she’s home, and she’s safe with us.”
“The bus broke down. You’re emptying it out. How can you not know one child is gone?” said the child’s father, William Wilkins. “Things can happen, but when you give your child to someone else’s custody, they’re responsible for them.”
The girl’s father stated that his daughter is “lucky she’s safe” after the daycare workers left her in the van.
“I feel very fortunate with the way the world is now,” he said. “Anybody could have picked her up. Anybody could have hit her because she doesn’t know where she’s going, she’s just walking.”
After the Orient Road Child Development Center learned that two of their workers left a 4-year-old girl inside the broken-down van on a busy road, they were fired for violating protocol.
It was reported that the two daycare workers were supposed to fill out a form to verify that all children had been transported onto another van, which would have prevented leaving a child behind.
“It is very jarring because even as a parent and as part of the ownership of this center, it’s very frustrating, heart-wrenching, and my heart goes out to the parents, as well as the teachers, as well as anyone looking at this,” the co-owner of the daycare, LeCandis Donaldson, said.
“So at this time we can definitely deeply say that we are sorry. Our goal is to keep children safe.”
“Being in business for over 30 years, it is very concerning because we haven’t had this happen. It was very emotional because we love all of our children as our own so we want to make sure that they’re safe,” Donaldson added.
— Bay News 9 (@BN9) January 21, 2017
Donaldson stated that the daycare’s transportation services have been suspended until further notice.
The child’s mother stated that it may be a good daycare, but her daughter will not be returning.
At this time, no charges have been filed but an investigation is underway.
[Featured Image By Vonkara1/iStock]