Hero Kids & Feisty Poodle Shouldn't Have Had to Fight Carjacker

vanWhen I took my first "real" job in journalism, one of my boss' cardinal rules was to focus in on children and animals. "Kids and critters," he told me, "get 'em every time." So I get why the New York Post and pretty much everyone who has picked up the story of a carjacker run off by two children and their "feisty" toy poodle are celebrating these unlikely heroes. But if I've learned anything from six years of reading bedtime stories, it's that every hero has to have a villain. And I'm pointing the finger right at dear old Dad.

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Based on the facts, it sounds an awful lot like Sebastian Russo set his family up as carjack bait. He just popped out of the family van in the middle of Queens, leaving 7-year-old John and 5-year-old Robert alone with their four-legged friend so he could go buy a leash for the dog. He left the car running and the doors unlocked. He might as well have hung a sign that said, "Come on, steal my car!"

As it happened, some nefarious type noticed the running car and figured he'd have an easy pay day. He didn't count on the two kids screaming and the dog yipping at him as he tried to boost their Honda Odyssey. He ended up driving the kids to their house and abandoning the whole mission.

Awesome kids? Yeah, but they got lucky.

It doesn't take a wild imagination (or more than one episode of Law & Order: SVU) to guess how this COULD have turned out, but here are just a few ideas: the kids get kicked out of the car on a random street in a bad part of town; the kids are kidnapped/molested/murdered by the strange sicko; the pissed off carjacker beats the crap out of the kids and then lets them out of the car ... And all this because the dad was too lazy to take his 5- and 7-year-olds into the store with him?

If he was going in for a short period of time, the dog could have been left in the vehicle with the window cracked for ventilation. Heck, many pet stores (he was going to buy a leash) allow dog owners to bring them inside. Regardless, there's no reason to leave kids in a car, and certainly not a running vehicle. Images of a 5-year-old "pretending" to drive only to knock the car into gear are running through my head right now.

Dad got lucky. The kids got lucky. But they never should have been in that position to begin with.

What do you think: Is this the story of some incredible kids? Or the story of some incredible kids put in a horrible position by their bonehead Dad?

 

Image via dave_7/Flickr

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