I was working in Orewa yesterday it is a beautiful seaside town, it was one of those stellar days we have been having, the ocean and sky blending and blurring in a stunning display, wisps of clouds matched by tiny white horses on the ocean. People were off to the beach for lunch and enjoying the day. The work was physical however the conversation was easy and the atmosphere was positive. We accomplished our tasks and headed back towards home so 180 km away.
I was driving towards the motorway and then I saw them. A little blonde girl standing on one side of the really busy road and an older man in his vehicle gesturing at her. My alarm bells went off the register. I stopped my van and called the police and observed.
I was concerned at two levels here was a 5 or 6 year old being asked to cross a very busy road, a recipe for disaster and I did not know if the person who was asking her to cross the road was legitimate or not. After a little gesturing she turned away and headed briskly off across an empty lot. The man in the car then headed off quickly around the corner, in the meantime I was describing him and her to the operator. I kept her in site and then I saw him meet here at the other side of the lot. She shook her head at him and moved away briskly at this point I jumped out of my vehicle and started to run. However before I could get there they had disappeared.
Back into my vehicle drove around the street and the operator said it was a one way street. With lots of very long driveways. I only had a partial plate and at this stage I was feeling very sick.
I am sensitive to these issues as I have worked as a child protection Social Worker and have read too many true stories about things I prefer to forget and here it was unfolding in front of my eyes. Now I told myself he could be her Grandad or Father, there could be an innocent explanation.
Within a couple of minutes a number of Police Officers arrived. I was to make sure that they didn’t leave the street by calling 111 again if they appeared and I decided I would follow them if they appeared.
After what seemed to be 20 minutes a Police came to me. It was innocent the young girls grandfather however the Police were giving him a stern talking to. He had placed her life in danger by trying to get her to cross a busy road and the gesturing was her telling Grandad that it was not safe. I thought now I will get a lecture and I did.
The constable shook my hand and said better to have 50 call outs like this rather than 1 missing child. He then asked me why did I call them. Well it just didn’t look right. The young girls demeanor was not happy. It was dangerous and it just didn’t feel right. The simple truth is that there are predators out there and they are just waiting for an opportunity to strike. Lots of cars passed did anyone else thin oh this looks strange, am I a rare individual hyper sensitive well perhaps but I will always err on the side of safety.
A good outcome yesterday, but can I use this as a reminder for people to trust their judgement, you do not have to be so obvious as I was or get physically involved but if you see something that is not right tell the Police, note down a description and what is happening ring 111, Keep yourself safe. I am a big strong guy and happy to intervene especially when someone so vulnerable was involved.
So take care out there but be a good citizen and do care. It may save a life.