My name is Beth Farrell and my friends and I were getting ready to do the Color Run recently and one of them wanted coffee. So we waited outside while they stood in the longest Starbucks line ever.
Along comes a man who looked like he was definitely on meth and he had a little boy with him. The little guy had no shoes and was pretty filthy. Something felt very wrong about the situation. I COULD NOT just let them pass without doing something. So I asked security to stop and ask what was up. They chatted for a few minutes and then let him go. As they walked towards the under highway tunnel I just couldn’t let it go. That child could have been kidnapped or trafficked or just in a dangerous situation in general so I called 9-1-1. One of the security guys helped me with the exact location we were at since I wasn’t sure. I then asked the security guy to also call 9-1-1 and give whatever info he had learned from talking with the guy. He said his boss would be upset if he did. I was like “you’ll be upset with yourself is you see this kid on an amber alert later.” So he called. The guy somehow ended up running himself and the child across the 5 at J street. It was a busy morning, lots of cars along that stretch of road. Luckily there were tons of cops around the area since the roads were closed for The Color Run. They apprehended him once he got to the Old Sac side of the freeway and took him into custody for child endangerment. They could not find a responsible family member to pick up the little boy so they took him into protective custody. He had actually walked to Sacramento from Redding with that little boy…who had no shoes!
The reason I know all these details is because one of the cops who picked up the child and brought him to protective services came and met me after The Color Run to tell me all the details. He was so sweet. He also told me that of the hundreds of people who had to have seen the father and child only two people called 9-1-1…me and the security guard who I cajoled into it. That is the most stunning part of this situation for me.
Since that incident, I have organized many volunteer projects related to kids in crisis. My favorite projects have been those I’ve organized with FosterHope Sacramento. It has been an honor to work with the staff there. They are so appreciative, fun to work with and somehow keep really good senses of humor even with all the seriousness of their jobs.