Sitting from our beach blanket vantage point, we looked out at the clear blue sky and green-tinged ocean spewing rhythmic, whitewater waves.
It was just another day at the beach.
What it looked like to the south and north, from where we were sitting:
As our skin soaked up ray after UV ray of sunscreen-blocked sunshine, and the sea breeze provided just the right amount of cooling, a sudden disturbance in the force jolted me back to reality.
“I think that little girl might be lost,”
I said to my wife.
There was a child in a striped tank top running down the beach, at full kid-speed. By herself.
She was almost a quarter mile down the beach – see picture above looking north – when I lost sight of her. Small children don’t often run along the shore, especially alone.
Just moments later, I could see her tiny figure coming back into focus. This time, toward us. She appeared to be disoriented. Was she running FROM someone, or struggling to find her way back to her family?
As she came closer, it became obvious that she was very confused. She didn’t know which direction to go.
Fortunately, I had just seen an episode of “Lifeguard”
on The Weather Channel.
I know, you’re picturing me in my Hasselhoff shorts, with the deep tan and buff-build. Yep, that’s me, exactly. This is how I looked:
Or maybe closer to this, without my wetsuit on; minus David’s muscle and great tan:
Dammit, why can’t I have that orange thing the Hoff’s holding?
Anyway, I approached “confused child.”
After all, the show Lifeguard had taught me three important things:
1) Lost kids on the beach usually run in the opposite direction of where they should be going.
2) They go towards the sun (north on the west coast of the U.S.).
3) For some reason, they DON’T seek help from the lifeguards stationed every 200 feet or so.
This poor kid was 3 for 3.
I asked her if she was lost. She said she was, and that she was looking for her mom.
At this point, I motioned for MLB (my wife) to get involved in order to put the child at ease.
MLB took her to the lifeguard tower, so the guard could radio the other towers to let them know that he had the lost kid.
Here’s what we found out:
* Her name was Jackie.
* She was only four years old.
* Her mom had scolded, her. Not sure if Jackie had retaliated by running away, or if that was just coincidence. Let’s just call it coincidence.
* Mom was wearing a blue swimsuit and her dad was there also.
As the tower alerted the other towers, I went in search of “blue-suited momma.”
After walking about a hundred feet to the south I saw two women coming my way with worried, pensive faces.
“Are you looking for someone?”
“YES!! My daughter – she had on a striped tank-top.”
I explained to her that we found her, and that MLB had taken her to the lifeguard tower.
The relief filled her ashen face as quickly as the mercury jumps on a thermometer stuck into a hot pot roast. *blatant simile*
She reunited with her little Jackie at the lifeguard tower. All was right with the world again. Television, The Weather Channel, and “Lifeguard,” in particular, had saved the day.
Maybe next time, they’ll give me that orange thing to carry around!
Have you ever lost your child in a crowded place?
Have you ever helped someone find a child?