I never thought I would have to dial 911, but yesterday I did. It wasn't because of a car accident, or an illness, or a robbery.
I called because of a young boy I saw walking along the railroad tracks on a very busy Riverwatch Parkway.
A boy who should have been in school.
A boy who was (maybe) ten years old.
A boy who was all alone.
I pulled over.
Son, I called. Did you miss your bus? Shouldn't you be in school?
He looked at me, frowning.
No, he replied. I was suspended.
As he continued walking, here's what I thought: Suspended? The boy is ten years old! Suspended? This is only the third week of school! Suspended? He still shouldn't be wandering around unsupervised.
So, I called 911. They took the boy's description, the direction he was headed, and said they'd send a car to look for him.
There is a saying, Give me a child for the first seven years, and I will give you a man . . . and I couldn't help wondering what happened in this boy's first seven years that, by the age of ten, he is suspended from school and walking along a railroad track.
I wish, for him, someone had called 911 years ago.