“I would like to go to the shops,” a 5-year-old told her friends. These 3 neighbours aged 4, 5 and 7 years who were playing along their corridor on the 9th floor then made their way downstairs without informing their care-givers. “The shops at the mall are nicer and we should all walk there,” the 7-year-old suggested. It was quite a walk to the mall and the others refused but after some persuasion, they agreed. It was after all still very early in the day and the air-conditioning at the mall will be most pleasant for such a warm day.
At 2pm, we received a call from the mother of the younger children. When she realised that her daughter was not outside her flat, she sent her 7-year-old son to look for them downstairs. In a voice quivering with anxiety, she told us that she was worried sick because her daughters and her neighbour’s child were missing. We then added her onto the neighbourhood parents’ What’s App group and she requested for help to locate her children from 43 other parents; most of whom were mothers. For good measure, she attached photographs of her children and told the group to also look out for her neighbour’s child who was slightly older. She elaborated that they would probably be together.
We also forwarded her message to the neighbourhood youths’ What’s App group and members of both groups forwarded the message to their friends who were residing in the neighbourhood. Messages were going back and forth in both groups. People wanted more information to help them start looking but there were also words of comfort and kind thoughts.
A couple who were on their way to work at the Singapore Expo made a U-turn when they got the message. They figured that with a vehicle, they would be able to cover more ground and spot the children if they were out in the open. True enough, within minutes they spotted 3 children walking on a pavement on their own. They stopped their van at a bus-stop, got out and made their way to the children. They got the children to speak to their mother on the phone and eventually sent them back home in their van.
Needless to say, the mother who sought help was most relieved that all 3 children were safe and sound and expressed her thanks profusely on the What’s App groups. “As a mother myself, my legs became weak when I got your message. I am so happy that the children are okay and we can now teach them not to do this again,” was a response that got many thumbs up.
Enjoy your Mothers’ Day week.
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” ― Dorothy Day