12-Year-Old Hides Out in IKEA for 6 Days to Avoid Angry Mom

boy hides in IKEA

Here is a terrifying scenario that I hope I never, ever personally experience: a 12-year-old Chinese boy ran away from home after getting into an argument with his mother over his math homework, and he went missing for SIX DAYS. Oh, my gosh. Six days! Can you even begin to imagine the fear and heartache his parents went through during that time? How they must have started believing that something unspeakable had happened to him and they would never see him again?

Thankfully, he was discovered safe and sound. But get this — he’d been in an IKEA store the entire time.

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Now, I don’t want to make light of the situation because it’s seriously awful and I cannot believe that kid never once decided to turn himself in so his parents could stop worrying, but I guess if I had to come up with a location where my child went missing, an IKEA wouldn’t be so bad. You’ve got a million comfortable places to sleep and play, you’ve got all sorts of food ... I mean, the meatballs and lingonberry preserves alone would keep you going for a long time.

However, it sounds like he wasn’t staying in the store the whole time. Peng Yijian, who ran away Shanghai on November 3 after getting into trouble with his mom when he didn’t do his homework, spent nearly a week roaming the streets during the day and living off free food samples from various supermarkets.

At night, he apparently returned to the IKEA and may have tucked himself into one of the show beds. He was finally caught Sunday afternoon after police saw him on a surveillance camera at a railway station the previous day. Cops had asked his parents what places he liked to visit, and she gave them several names, including a shopping mall, a park, and the IKEA.

Yijian was found “weak with hunger” and had to be sent to the hospital for an IV drip. His mom says it’s not the first time he’s run away, but this was the longest.

Well, I’m glad he was found safe. But I sure hope the family can work with him to be certain he won’t do this again. At just 12, he’s way too young to be venturing out on his own like that, regardless of how mature he might be or what cultural differences may have helped him be more independent than most 12-year-olds I know. This was a really scary thing for him to do, and I hope his home life is healthy enough for him to make different choices in the future.

Can you believe a kid that young ran away for so long?


Image via kaktuslampa/Flickr

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