A moment any mother would dread, receiving a terrifying call from your child’s day care that your baby is missing. That’s what happened to Gemma Tainor, who was at work when she received the heart-wrenching phone call.
Her 3-year-old son Cain was missing, and the staff members of the Little Owls playgroup where he’d been dropped off had no idea what happened to him.
But as it turned out, little Cain had other plans on his first day of preschool, and it was to go straight back home.
Travelling 1.5 miles, the toddler crossed several roads, passed cycle paths and heavy woodlands before finding his way home safe and sound.
Incredibly, following a route he barely knew, it took Cain around 40 minutes to make his way home to Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire, England.
In an interview with the Evening Gazette, the youngster spoke of his mini-adventure – telling them that he “walked past the lollipop lady,” and explained how he also walked past what locals call “Devil’s Bridge” onto a road and then “down an alley” that eventually led him back to his home.
The incident occurred on the Tuesday afternoon of February 3, a day Cain’s mother, Gemma, will not likely forget.
Speaking to the Gazette, the mother-of-two said she had no reception on her phone inside the Cleveland Housing Advice Centre where she works, and it wasn’t until she went outside that she saw that the preschool had been trying to get in contact with her.
“They started the conversation with something like, ‘I don’t want to worry you, but we seem to have lost Cain.’
I felt sick – there aren’t words to describe that feeling of something terrible happening which is totally out of your control.
I rushed to the school and when I got there, they were all in tears.
The headteacher came running over, saying they didn’t know what had happened.
Then within seconds, I got a phone call from my next door neighbor saying Cain had arrived home. I burst into tears with relief.”
Cain had only just transferred to Little Owls from a previous nursery, and went missing at 3:20 p.m. during the changeover from the school nursery to the Little Owls after-school session.
According to his mother, “Most kids would have cried or screamed, but it looks like he just thought ‘I can’t find who I’m meant to be with, I know where I want to go, so I’ll go.'”
“In a funny way, I’m actually quite proud that he managed to find his way home,” she continued.
“We’ve talked to him about ‘stranger danger’ but I was surprised he went that way because we hardly ever go there.
He even dropped in at the Sainsbury’s shop to see if I was in there buying milk.
But when he was cuddled into me that night, I couldn’t sleep. I just kept thinking of what could have happened.”
Despite the incident, Gemma continues to back the day care center, stating that she appreciated the concern and genuine emotion they showed during the frightening episode. She also added that she would not want them to be “slated” for what happened as “I don’t think that would be fair.”
Watch Cain recall his momentous journey home after his preschool escape.
[Image via Evening Gazette]