Jeanne Bornstein: Scariest moment — Young child lost at fair
This is a plea for awareness for your children. So, I need to tell you a story. I took my kids to the fair.
When we arrived, I took a bunch of pictures of them all excited to be going to this fun event. I did this because of something I read years ago — take a picture of what your children are wearing and what they look like when you leave for a big event. This is because, in the event that they are separated, you can show the picture to others and explain that this is what they were wearing the last time you saw them.
I never thought I would actually have to use it. I just thought it was a wonderful idea.
Well, my nightmares became reality. We were separated from Kateri (age 3) while we were playing games and getting ready to go home. From the moment we realized she was missing we jumped into action.
I left one person to tend to her brother at the location we were last at while the rest of us went in different directions in search of her.
Because of what I read, instead of yelling her name, I went around yelling out a description of what she was wearing. Within moments, I had every mother’s worst fear come to life and every mother was looking for a little girl, age 3, wearing a brown and green dress with orange flowers and a big blue bow in her hair.
Little did I know that that wouldn’t be the thing that rescued her.
When we first walked into the fair, I pointed out the sheriff’s and security. I looked at both my children and explained that should they become separated from us, they should look for anyone who looks like this (uniforms and radios with microphones) and let them know they were lost.
I can’t tell you the panic I felt when, in the blink of an eye, she disappeared from view. We all separated looking for her.
I pulled up a photo, asking everyone and anyone, to keep their eyes open for her. But today she was her own rescuer. She traveled much farther than I ever thought she would. Then she found someone with a radio strapped across their chest, walked up to them and told them she was lost.
They took her to the main gate, where she gave the first and middle names of both of her brothers, which they announced over the loudspeaker. I can’t tell you how grateful I am today for every single person who looked for her and helped me stay sane in one of the scariest times of my life as a parent thus far.
I am so incredibly in awe of this little girl who listened to what I had to say and looked for the right person when everything seemed so scary — when she felt so incredibly alone.
I felt so helpless and yet the thing that I did to protect her saved her in the end because she didn’t panic. She did exactly what I asked. I’m so incredibly grateful for every single security and sheriff’s deputy and worker at the Nevada County Fair that night. Thank you.
Jeanne Bornstein lives in Penn Valley.
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