ONTD Political

MD girl, 3, left behind at Chuck E. Cheese; parents find out after she appears on evening news

1:52 pm - 03/07/2012

A pair of Maryland parents left their 3-year-old daughter behind at a Chuck E. Cheese after a party - and didn't realize it until seeing her on the news hours later.

The tot, named Harmony, was left behind at the Bel Air family pizza joint after her parents attended a large party on Sunday, ABC News reported.

Her parents are separated, and both assumed the girl had gone home with the other, authorities said.

Staff members didn't realize the girl had been left behind until around 8 p.m., when she approached a worker to ask for a drink, ABC News reported.

Hartford County cops eventually called local news stations after they were unable to find her parents, and the little girl appeared on a local 11 p.m. broadcast.

Both parents called the sheriff's office after the segment ran, authorities said.

Eventually, Harmony's mom picked her up.

Child welfare agents said the incident was an accident and charges aren't expected to be filed.

Neither parent was identified.

Source thinks it could have gone a hellllll of a lot worse than it went... and is super glad it didn't.
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ten_of_swords 7th-Mar-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
I'm just picturing someone watching the news going, "Oh that's terrible, how could someone do that -- oh shit, that's my kid."
chaya 7th-Mar-2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
LOL, exactly. I think most people have a story about getting left as a kid, but when you add the component of separated parents that 20 minutes suddenly turns into "until the 11pm news".
13chapters 7th-Mar-2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
I know everyone makes mistakes and no one is infallible, but WHAT? That an epically bad parenting fail.
romp 8th-Mar-2012 01:43 am (UTC)
It's a lack of communication, not bad intentions. (I say this as someone who had a similar experience as a child)
snoozeen 7th-Mar-2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Something similar happened to me:

We were at a youth baseball field and my parents had driven separately and each thought the other had me when they left.

My dad said it was the worst day of his life. :(

The crazy part to me was this: I was a five year-old walking around crying and not a single adult stopped me and asked what was wrong. And I wasn't in a private area of the park. There were adults and others walking all around me, getting ready to leave as the last game was finishing and it was near sundown. It was a 12 year old player to finally stop and ask me if I needed help. That's the crazy part. Where the fuck were the adults? Why weren't they asking a crying child what was wrong? Like...it blows my mind. Luckily, my family was involved with the league, so when I was taken to someone who ran the show, they immediately called my parents and drove me to my parents and the police car outside my house.

I remember that day so specifically, at least all the stuff at the park. Then I remember being in my parents' arms and who cares about anything after that, right? Nothing like that kind of safety.

Edited at 2012-03-07 07:05 pm (UTC)
chaya 7th-Mar-2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
I can never understand that. I get that adults don't want to be misunderstood and yelled at for talking to a kid that they don't know, but there's nothing wrong with watching the kid cry a while, determine nobody is collecting said crying kid, and then swooping in.
blondebeaker 7th-Mar-2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing that she didn't even notice mum and dad were gone until the employees started to make a fuss!

At least Chuck's has a safety thing where adults can't go in unless you have a child with you.
jei_corsair 7th-Mar-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Not as bad as this since they would always realize what happened when they got home, but my relatives forgot to pick me up from school multiple times through the years. They would pick up my siblings and cousins and assume I was in there somewhere. LOL. I always had fun playing with toys or the class pets so it wasn't a big deal to me.
beokitty 7th-Mar-2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
lol @ Hartford county.
angi_is_altered 7th-Mar-2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad she is ok,but her parents need to learn to communicate better when it comes to their child.
chaya 7th-Mar-2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
snapesgirl34 7th-Mar-2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
Wooooow, nice parenting there guys. LOL, that poor kid is going to be reminding them of this for years.

Of course since she's okay it's funny, but something bad could've easily happened so hopefully they won't be making that mistake again!
kalikahuntress 7th-Mar-2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
I'm glad this turned out ok but this could of turned out really awful. They are really lucky.
Wait, I'm really busy at work but I'm missing something. How long was it between the parents assuming she went home with the other parent and her turning up on the news?

Edited at 2012-03-07 07:31 pm (UTC)
sperose 7th-Mar-2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
My babysitter left me behind at a basketball game once to go be with her boyfriend. I walked my ass home (about 3-4) miles and ate ice cream. Never was babysat again after that.

Then again, my folks did forget to pick me up once when I was in high school. They had assumed that I was going to DC with a friend (and her father) but didn't think to check and see where I was until around 11pm when they called my friend and asked where I was. Oops. (Didn't have a car, or a phone, or any friends that had cars/phones. Had to call a friend collect and hope he got the phone before his folks did in order to have him call my folks.)
eyetosky 7th-Mar-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
"My babysitter left me behind at a basketball game once to go be with her boyfriend."


Oh my god, please tell me your parents lit into her and told her parents, because WHAT?
ceilidh 7th-Mar-2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine how horrible those parents felt. I did that kind of thing once, but not exactly--my daughter had choir after school once a week and usually my husband picked her up but he couldn't leave work (he was the manager of a store) because the other manager didn't come in, so he tried to call me to tell me to pick her up but my phone was off because I was in a grad school class where the professor would ask us to leave and mark us absent if our phone went off, so no one could contact me. Thankfully her choir director was a family friend and knew I had class and just waited with her, but I felt horrible about it when I got out of class and saw my messages.
snoozeen 8th-Mar-2012 12:34 am (UTC)
I posted my story above...my dad cannot talk about that day. Like he cannot be reminded of how he felt but also I think it makes him feel like a shitty parent when GAH he is the best. He just bought me Game of Thrones. HE HAS BEEN FORGIVEN.

But yeah, I really feel for the parents because I know they have thought of every horrible situation and probably won't be able to forgive themselves anytime soon, even though she turned up safe.
wicked_g 7th-Mar-2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
This happened to me after primary school-ALL the buses had gone, the rest of the other kids had been picked up, and I was just sitting outside by myself when my mum drives by (on her way to the hospital for a check up with my brother) and then quickly uses the next roundabout to turn around as fast as possible and yanks me into the car. She had thought she had told the maid to go and pick me up, but she didn't(obviously). It was pretty traumatising.

Though I realise that right outside my school, where teachers were probably still in the building, was a pretty safe place for a 8 year old to feel abandoned. It just really, really sucked.
gretchystretchy 7th-Mar-2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
I get that each parent thought she was with the other one, which is a regrettable but sorta understandable miscommunication...but both of them left without wanting to say goodbye to their child?

Edited at 2012-03-07 07:44 pm (UTC)
windy_lea 8th-Mar-2012 02:56 am (UTC)
It's possible they assumed she was absorbed in the ball pit and didn't want to interrupt her or hunt for her. Alternatively, they might have glanced around, seen neither her nor the other parent, then assumed she and the other parent had already left.
layweed 7th-Mar-2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhh separated parents who thought the kid went home with the other, ok. I was like, wuddddddddd.
effervescent 7th-Mar-2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Oh god, scary. I'm glad that this turned out okay, it could have been so much worse. I hope the parents don't end up arguing with each other because of this, but just appreciate that she's safe.
bnmc2005 7th-Mar-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
My abandoned story:

First day of new middle school. The boiler melts down. School is dismissed at mid-day. All the kids left. I was supposed to get a ride with my neighbor, apparently, but nobody told me that- or my neighbor. My older brother just walked home.

So I sat my ass down on the flagpole pedestal in front of the whole school... and cried. I wasn't even that scared but I was confused and didn't really know what to do with myself. So I bawled my little eyes out right in time for the news cameras to come along and catch it all and play it later for the evening news. Famous me in my brand new purple izod shirt and matching skirt.

Eventually someone found me, I can't recall who or how long I was there. I guess when My Grama saw my brother was home and not me she came to find me.
hammersxstrings 7th-Mar-2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
so the news people just taped you and didn't think to come over and be like, are you okay?

this and that other comment above...what is WRONG with people...
emeraldus 7th-Mar-2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
One of the parents should have really checked with the other, rather than assuming the other one had her, especially with a kid that young.

One time I was in Toys R Us, there was a little girl who'd gotten separated from her parent. She took my hand and let me lead her up to the front of the store, no fussing at all, trusting me to help her. Scary thing is, she would have gone with anyone. Someone could have walked her out of the store and into their car and her family might never have seen her again.
livinghope 8th-Mar-2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Kids get separated from their parents all the time at the store I work at, and when I find them, I usually try to lead them to the front of the store so that we can page the parents to collect them. More often than not, the kids shy away from me and look at me like they don't trust me further than they can throw a truck. On the one hand, I want to be like "Good for you! You *shouldn't* trust a stranger!" but on the other hand it's so frustrating because I just want to help them. :(
roguebelle 7th-Mar-2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
Since we're all sharing, ;)

I got forgotten a lot my first couple years of high school, before I was driving myself -- I had a lot of after-school activities, and my parents would either not realise I had them, or each one of them would think the other was getting me, and then it'd be 7pm and I was cold and alone and sitting on the front stairs of the school hoping someone remembered me soon because my school was really not in a good area (went to a magnet school, so I was also 25 miles from home). And, since they both worked long hours, it would generally take both of them getting home and realising the other didn't have me before someone would freak out and come fetch me.

I think it was after the fourth or fifth time that happened that they decided to get me my own cell phone. It was one of those god-awful giant brick Nextel Direct Connect things, with the beeping?
maenads_dance 7th-Mar-2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
How is this news? This seems like the kind of mistake that, if not inevitable in a particular family, is inevitable given the large numbers of families in which parents do not live together. There was no malice on the part of either parent; both parents tried to recover their child when they realized their error; no harm was done to the child. Live and learn.
vvalkyri 7th-Mar-2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
I'd imagine part of why it was news was more of a "kid isn't exactly carrying ID and thinks her parents' names are Mommy and Daddy. Anybody out there know who the heck she is? "
callmepatsy 7th-Mar-2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
I feel like by the time I was 3, my parents had taught me to say my full name, and their full names, so that if something like this happened, I could at least tell the cops who to get ahold of. Isn't that one of those safety things kids are drilled on?
chaya 7th-Mar-2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
Optimally, I think you're right. But not every parent prioritizes that, sadly, and perhaps some kids just can't learn/remember it for whatever reason.
drownanddive 7th-Mar-2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
I got lost at a state fair when I was a little girl. Luckily, I have a twin sister and the person who found me saw her and asked my parents if they had another little girl. Yay my sister! <3
keeni84 8th-Mar-2012 12:17 am (UTC)
Hahaha omg twins

kikkyo 7th-Mar-2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Idk, I can't see myself leaving a kids party without double-checking to make sure I knew exactly where my child was and who he/she was going to be with if they weren't coming with me. It's dangerous out there, and that little girl is just so adorable.
yeats 7th-Mar-2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
my parents left me at the church on the day of my confirmation...i was on line waiting to meet the bishop, and they both went separately to the restaurant where we were going to have the lunch reception.
baka_tenshi 8th-Mar-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
i remember when i was sick as a kid back in elementary school, my mom was supposed to pick me up but was running late. i guess i decided to go home on my own. i don't remember because i was sick and everything's a blur but somehow i made it from my school (which was pretty isolated)... to the middle of an intersection. i was so scared that i didn't leave there for hours and then my mom came up. she said that her friend was driving and saw me and gave her a call.

so yeah. that's my story. ;; but i did purposefully tried to leave my family at amusement parks and disneyland just for the simple fact i wanted to run away and i wanted to have an excuse for leaving them but it never worked
ms_maree 8th-Mar-2012 12:04 am (UTC)
As soon as I read this, I was like 'oh great, I'm sure people are going to be down on the parents' and I wasn't disappointed (or pleasantly surprised).
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