Being that most mothers fret, stress, do background checks, and install hidden cameras before they dare leave their precious children with anyone, it's unfathomable to think that someone would just knock on a stranger's door and ask a strange man to watch her child. But that's just what Melissa Willis, 31, of Palmetto, Florida, did recently. And the stranger? He agreed!
Juan Pablo Bravo, a 53-year-old grandfather of three, told WTSP that Willis knocked on his door last Saturday evening and asked if she could just drop her 18-month-old son with him for 10 or 15 minutes as she was having car trouble. Mind you, he had NEVER met this woman before, but being a kind guy, he agreed. So she went inside, changed the boy's diaper, and left -- not even bothering to tell Bravo the boy's name. She didn't return for two days!
I can't even come close to wrapping my head around this one. The only stranger I've ever asked to watch my child was a flight attendant on an airplane, when I really needed to use the restroom and my son was sleeping peacefully (at last) in his car seat. I figured there wasn't anywhere she could really take him, and even then, I remember having reservations and peeing really quickly.
While Willis was gone, Bravo took good care of the boy. She left no supplies or food for him, so Bravo fed him milk and pizza. Eventually he called a social worker, and police got involved. They were able to identify Willis as the mother as she had scribbled down a phone number for him -- that wasn't hers, but belonged to a friend. Even with the friend's assistance, however, they couldn't find Willis
On Monday, she finally returned to pick the boy up. Presumably to just say thanks and go on her merry way? Instead, she was arrested and charged with child neglect. She told them she had been taking drugs. The boy is currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families
Thank goodness the door she chose to knock on was that of this kindly grandfather. The scenarios that could have happened are horrifying. His neighbor, who translated for Bravo since he speaks Spanish, said, "He was just doing a favor just to help the woman out." While this woman never should have asked, it's amazing that he said yes, even for a short time. This woman obviously wasn't in any shape to be watching over a child, and he potentially saved him from a worse fate. Bravo, Mr. Bravo! You at least provide a small ray of humanity in an otherwise tragic story.
Can you imagine ever leaving your child with a stranger?