What Would You Do?

There is a little boy in our neighborhood I’m worried about. I’ll call him Sam. Sam is four years old and always seems to be unsupervised. He rides a bike up and down the sidewalk without a helmet, crosses the street on his own, walks uninvited into peoples’ houses, and seems to be in danger of injury or worse.

Sam has started knocking on our door regularly looking for our seven year old son. When told he should be at home, he says his mom told him to go play outside. He lives in a nearby apartment complex which has had a history of trouble. He says he and his mom live with her boyfriend. Barefoot and shirtless, he roams the neighborhood like a homeless waif. He is clearly developmentally delayed, craving attention, and neglected.

It breaks my heart. What would you do? Report him to CPS? Ignore him? Feed him? Clothe him? Would you let him play with your children?

About Michael Brown

I am an Elementary School teacher in the state of Washington. I enjoy writing, bird-watching, working in the garden, photography, and spending time with my family. View all posts by Michael Brown

2 Responses to “What Would You Do?”

  • scott@holmanhaus.com

    michael, both of you are about as well qualified to identify the troubles of this child as anyone. not only your training but experience puts you in a better position to observe and identify the issues facing this child. there is always the issue of retribution from parents but i cant imagine you or your wife backing down from that. perhaps another option would be calling the police while he is riding with no helmet if they can see that then they will step in with the parents and perhaps cps.

    if the kid is hungry a bit of fruit or at least water but, like a lost puppy, he may be back for more and more. i dont know how to say this so straight out it is. how will you feel if something happens to that child and you havent done anything? i would be hard pressed to even breathe for awhile.

    • osflycatcher

      Thanks for your response Scott. One friend suggested making a "welfare" call to the police, which I'm going to try. He came by our house again a couple of evenings ago. We quizzed him at length. He doesn't seem to know his last name, or even what a last name is. He is lacking in basic social skills, announcing, "I'm going to fart!" more than once. We explained that it is probably better to just apologize after the fact!

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