The British PM and his family were lunching with friends, the PM left in one car, his wife in another, both thought their eight-year-old daughter Nancy was with the other, neither realising she’d gone to the loo.
No doubt both parents were embarrassed and upset but there’s a world of difference between a lapse in communication between parents and a child and troubled families.
How many parents could say they haven’t done something similar or at least realise how easily it could happen?
I left my young son with my mother while I was shopping one day. It was only when I stopped at the supermarket halfway between town and home that I noticed the empty car seat in the back of the car and realised I’d forgotten to pick him up again.
Another time I was in Dunedin with my daughter and and niece who were having for swimming lessons. After class they were playing with a school friend whose mother had asked another North Otago parent to keep an eye on her until her father arrived.
The father hadn’t claimed his daughter when the other parent wanted to leave so I offered to look after the girl. An hour later the father still hadn’t turned up and the girls were getting tired. This was before the days of mobile phones so I told the staff what had happened and took the children back to our motel.
There I phoned the girl’s grandparents who lived in Dunedin. It turned out the father had gone to the pool, hadn’t spotted his daughter among the kids in the pool and not seeing his wife either had assumed the girl was with her.
The headline suggests negligence when it is something that most parents will think, there but for the grace of God, go I.
Such incidents aren’t rare and fortunately in most, while child and parents are usually upset, all are safe.