One mom’s quick thinking was potentially the difference between leaving a store with her toddler in tow or spending a lot of time in a panic searching . She was shopping with her 2 year old when he separated himself and got lost. She had a friend with her who went to the front of the store to ensure the child didn’t leave, but locating him proved troublesome until she remember a bit of advice she had heard on TikTok.
The anonymous mom from Australia was horrified to realize she’d lost track of her son in the NSW Hunter Region Kmart while shopping on Saturday, according to Yahoo! News.
“One friend ran to the entry immediately and alerted the staff member to not let a boy of his description leave the store,” she wrote in a Facebook post, according to Yahoo. “Even if he was with an adult. Another friend searched the area [where] he was last seen.”
Understandably as the seconds passed, the mom started to “silently” panic. She frantically searched through aisles, looked under clothes racks, and would call for him sporadically as she searched. That is when she recalled the TikTok video passed along to her from a friend.
The video, which the Daily Mail reported was a public service announcement made by @jesmartini (although it’s unclear if this was the same video the mom was referring to), encourages parents to not silently look for their kids if they’re lost.
“You want to start loudly looking for them,” Martini said in the January 4 footage. “Do not start silently looking for them.”
“And what I mean by that is that you want to start shouting their description,” she added.
“It’s gonna sound like, ‘I’m looking for a boy, age 5, short brown hair, brown eyes, causasian, red Nike T-shirt, black shorts.’ You’re going to keep repeating yourself while you look over and over again,” she continued.
Best case scenario, it helps your child get found faster; worst case, it will discourage anyone who might have snatched your child to release them “because they don’t want that sort of commotion.”
“You may feel that you look stupid doing it and maybe you do, but it is so much better to look stupid than to be sorry,” Martini added.
So as she searched Kmart for her little boy, the mom started yelling. “I’m missing a little boy, he’s wearing a yellow shirt and has brown hair. He’s 2 years old and his name is Nathan.”
She kept repeating herself and there was an “instantaneous” change in the people around her. “I had every adult around me on alert. They all threw aside what they were looking at and started searching too,” she explained.
Before long, the mom heard a stranger call out, “He’s here.”
“I turned back the way I came and there he was. A man had walked past him after hearing me calling out,” she wrote.
She said “a thousand thank yous to the man.”
Finding her son was an incredible relief, but she knew that if she hadn’t called out for her son, “that man would have had no clue that I was looking for Nathan. Nate would have walked past him and he wouldn’t have blinked,” she wrote.
The mom wanted to share her story to encourage other people to keep this trick in mind if they ever went through the awful feeling of their kid vanishing in public.
“So to all parents out there, if your child goes missing, do not search in silence or just call out their name. Shout out loud and clear,” she explained.
“Say that they’re missing, give a description and repeat, repeat, repeat!” she added. “Everyone will be on alert, and if someone is trying to take off with your kid, it will decrease the chances of them getting away.”
Imagine the difference in your response from hearing a parent calling for their child versus hearing a parent call out that they a child is missing. And try not to be embarrassed. As Martini said in her video, “these things happen to the best parents.”