So there I am, driving down the highway on my way home from the Bean’s speech therapy session, when I see a young boy standing by the side of the highway, looking like he’s trying to cross!  Outloud, I say, “what is a boy doing on the side of the highway?”  And I decide that I don’t have any other choice but to turn around at the next exit and make sure he is okay.

He’s a little further up the road when I get back, and there is a woman following him from a lot further behind.   I drive up beside the kid and ask him where he is going.  Does he need a ride anywhere?  He gestures back at the woman behind him, and I ask, “Are you with her?”.  “Yup, I’m running away”.  Oh, okay.

I get out of the car (luckily there’s a flat spot beside the road there) and try to talk to him but he keeps walking up the highway.  The woman finally catches up with me and I tell her to jump in the car.  We drive up past the kid and we get out.  Meanwhile,  he’s started climbing up the hill above the highway.  We try to talk him down, and he goes up higher.  I start to climb up the hill, hoping that he’ll let me get closer even if he won’t wait for the lady he’s running from, but he goes even higher.  Then I cut my hand on a sharp rock. :-(.

A female police officer stops and starts talking to the kid, and a male police officer shows up on a motorcycle.   I’ve loaned my phone to the woman who’s chasing the kid and she contacts the school.  It turns out that the kid is 8 years old and has run away from St. Vincents, a residential home for boys close by.  The male officer disappears, and just as I’m getting into the car to get out of their way, I see him grab the kid from the top of the hill.  That’s why they’re the professionals.  I didn’t think of that.

I’m so glad the kid is safe, but I wonder what made an 8-year-old run away from school. The school he lives at is for boys who have had major psychological trauma including severe parental abuse and neglect.  I can’t imagine what this kid has been through in his short life already.  It’s the kind of thing that people like me only see in movies.  Of course, if I continue with my plan to become a school therapist, I’m going to see these things more than I want to.  I guess I’d better start getting used to the idea.

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