Serendipity

04:32 – Finishing the previous days audits and paperwork. I email them in and pack up my laptop and files. I’m running behind with heavy schedule for the day. I half-ass glance at a few emails without really reading them all the way through.

05:19 – Shower, shave and dress. I grab the nearest shirt hanging in the closet. It’s the same shirt I wore the day before, but I’m not seeing any of the same people… so who will know… right?

06:17 – I pull off of my property, while checking voicemails and writing in my planner.

06:24Coffee? Should I stop at the truck stop and get coffee? No, there was no time.

06:47 I-65 Traffic? Really? I thought everyone was working from home these days!! WTH?

07:36 – “Use PO# 661”, I told the clerk. She handed me the printed invoice. “See ya Barry!”, I said as I walked out the door and headed back to my company car.

08:13 – I arrived at my first stop of the day. I had to wait for someone to open up and let me in. Wasted time standing on the sidewalk… doing nothing but waiting!

08:17 – Confirmed the power supply was blown, this means bending over in an awkward position for 20 minutes and splicing/connecting 32 wires. Yes, that’s exactly what I feel like doing this morning! Thank you God!

08:57 – Packing up my tools and heading to my second stop of the day. I’m going to be so late.

09:28 – I pull into my next stop, but I’m confused. There should be way more vehicles there on inventory day. The parking lot is practically empty. I open my laptop and connect to my VPN to check emails. WHAT? The inventory was cancelled? That will teach me to skim over emails and not read them in entirety. Great! Well I can head 3 hours south and catch the end of another inventory. It’s good down time, I’ll listen to sports talk and unwind a bit.

09:31I pull into a McDonalds, then at the last minute, realize I’m putting weight back on and don’t need it. Good call – I hit the road with a growling stomach.

10:04 – I just realized that the location I’m driving to is one of the locations I audited the day before. I’m going to look like such a doofus! Same shirt and everything. Nope, not gonna do it! I’ll be passing by my exit anyhow, so I can swap shirts then.

10:17 – I take my exit, but have to wait forever for the line of 18-wheelers to make their left turns into the truck stop. I decide to go straight instead of turning left with them. If I turn left in one mile instead, it will save time.

10:21 – After taking the previously mentioned left turn, I approach a stop sign at the end of the shortcut. I look left, then start to pull out. Something catches my eye off to the left so I push the brake and stop before pulling out.

10:21 – Now why would anyone get such a cute little puppy and allow it to play in the road like that? I should probably go shoo the poor thing off the road. I mean after all, cars fly over that hill at 50-55 mph. I swing my steering wheel the complete opposite direction in order to turn left now… instead of right. At the last second, I change my mind and decide I’m in too big a rush to go chasing a puppy out of the street.

10:21 – I see pink. Is that a bag or a child? I roll down my window and do a complete 360 turn and head toward the puppy and the pink object which appeared to be moving.

10:22 – WTH? I roll down my window as I approach. It is a child! Actually, not a child, a toddler! No more than 13 months old… why is a child on the shoulder of a busy county road near a hill where cars zoom over??? Why is no adult here?

10:22 – I get out and this little baby is screaming and crying like a… well… like a baby. She is hysterical. Without even bothering to put my hazards on or grab my cellphone, I slam it in park and block the lane with my company car. I walk to the child while the puppy (Chihuahua I believe) is barking and jumping at my feet.

10:22 – I raise her from the side of the road and hold her in my arms. I scan the yard, the porch, the door, the house and then I look toward the neighboring houses. No one is here!

10:22 – My hands tremble as a terrifying thought comes to mind. What has become of her parent(s)? Are they even alive? Murder, suicide, overdose? Scenarios flash through my mind like shuffling cards. I have to call 911, there’s no other choice… right? But I left my phone on the seat of the car.

10:22 – And yet… as I walk back to the car, one more thought enters my mind and chills me to the bone. Someone is going to look out their window and see me walking back to a creepy-ass van with out of state plates while carrying a screaming baby in my arms…. and shoot me dead!

10:22 – Realizing I didn’t have much of a choice, I walk to the van, grab my phone and call 911. “I just found a baby… on County Rd XX. She appears okay, but no one is around.” I held the sweet baby in my arms, comforted, talked to her, bounced her up and down… then walked toward a neighbors house while still on the phone with dispatch.

10:23 – An older woman came out when she saw me approaching her yard. “Do you know whose child this is?”, I asked. She did.

10:25 – The older woman walked into the house and a young woman, probably no older than 24 came out.

10:26 – The baby screamed and stretched her arms toward the woman, so I handed the child over to the woman, against my instincts. I walked back to the van, stopping to pick up the puppy who followed me into the street. I took the puppy and handed him to the woman I had given the baby to.

10:27 – I move the van to the shoulder of the road and waited… I sat and tried to take it all in.

10:39 – The county deputy finally arrives, I’d been sitting in the car at the side of the road. The toddler was out of sight by now. It was an awkward wait for the police, since I told the woman I had notified them. I showed the officer my dashcam video and gave him my information.

Current Day – I have no idea what became of any of this. I don’t even know the baby’s name, which I regret not asking. She was adorable. The officer did tell me he had placed a call to DHR, but what that means, I have no idea. I have no clue how this baby could have gotten out of the house and made it to the road, screaming and crying that loud, without anyone hearing her. What I do know… there were at least a dozen different things that happened that morning that placed me in that spot at that time to make sure that baby was safe. She will never remember the day she crawled out to the road and some scruffy guy stopped to pick her up… but this will stay with me the rest of my days. I look at traffic jams and screw-ups a little differently now.

In the photos below, I have blocked the coordinates and the close up of the child’s face in order to respect privacy. I’m not passing judgement in any way on anyone involved. I’m just grateful… for the outcome could have been much different.