Missing 3-Year-Old Finds His Own Way Home From Nursery School​

kid walking aloneMom Gemma Trainor lived every parent's nightmare and got a call on the first day of her son's new nursery school that he was lost. Cain, who is just 3 years old, went missing from Little Owls, a playgroup on the same grounds as Newham Bridge Primary School in Acklam, England. But he was found. At home. He walked 1.5 miles all by himself.


Cain was missing for 40 minutes. That must have been the longest 40 minutes of this mom's life. He somehow slipped away from the nursery school in the transition time between school's end and after-school beginning. It was said that he ran into a crowd and vanished. It was his very first day at Little Owls. His mom switched him to this program for reasons we can all relate to -- his best friend goes there, when they visited he liked it, and it was cheaper than his previous school.

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Gemma called the moment she got the call that Cain was missing the "worst moment of my life." She was in a state of "total panic" and "felt sick." Gemma told the Telegraph:

I rushed to the school and when I got there, they were all in tears. The headteacher came running over, saying they didn't know what had happened. Then within seconds, I got a phone call from my next door neighbour saying Cain had arrived home. I burst into tears with relief.

Cain walked the 1.5 miles home. Alone. I'm imagining a 3-year-old crossing streets and walking sidewalks all by himself in the big bad world and it scares me. So much could have happened. But it didn't. (I can hear free rangers rejoicing.) Thinking of my own kids when they were 3, I feel it's a miracle this child managed to find his way without getting hurt or crying or giving up. But Cain did it -- he got home safe. Thank goodness. Gemma said the route her son took is a mix of wooded areas, bike paths, and streets -- a path he's only been on with his dad during bike rides in the summer. She said, " ... it looks like he just thought, 'I can't find who I'm meant to be with, I know where I want to go, so I'll go'."  

Cain also told his mom that he used the "lollipop lady" to cross streets -- a term for crossing guards holding what looks like a lollipop shaped sign that reads "STOP" for cars. I'm a bit shocked the lollipop lady didn't ask the child walking alone if he was lost, but that's a whole other story. "He even dropped in at the Sainsbury's shop to see if I was in there buying milk," Cain's mom said. She's proud of him and I would be, too. What a perceptive little kid with a good sense of direction. It makes me realize we should always be talking about our surroundings and markers in the roads we take with them, help them see the things around them so if there ever is an event where the child gets lost, he or she can find the way home ... or at least to a safe spot.

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Gemma is keeping Cain in Little Owls and said that seeing their emotion when Cain was missing was all she needed to know that they genuinely care about her son and all kids. The school is looking at their procedures and tightening up safety. I bet it's the safest school around right now. But if I were Gemma, I'd probably call numerous times during the day to make sure they knew where my son was just to keep them on their toes (and for peace of mind).

Would you keep your child at the school if they lost him once? Do you think your child would be able to find his way home like Cain did?


Image via Jarle Refsnes/Flickr

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