It Can Happen To Your Child Too :: My Lost Kid Story

The Time I Got Lost As A Child

Growing up, if I ever got lost, I was told to look for an adult with a uniform or badge on and ask them for help. I vividly remember getting lost in Schwegmann’s (I’m aging myself here) grocery store once when I was about 6. Although I was terrified, my mom’s lessons were engrained in me, and I knew what to do. I remember how big and scary the store felt, but we were there weekly, so I was familiar with the store layout.

I marched towards the front of the store, walked up to an employee with a nametag on and told them I was lost. They announced over the intercom that there was a lost child and within seconds my mom, with tears streaming down her face, appeared. The whole ordeal might have been 5 minutes total, but it was a scary 5 minutes for both of us. I was proud of myself; I knew what to do, and I did it. I’m sure after she calmed down, that my mom was proud of me too and hopefully proud of herself too.

Social Media Trends

A few years ago, a social media influencer that I follow posted a tip encouraging parents to teach their children this one important life-saving tip. I didn’t have kids at the time, but I was sold on the title and read the article. Her tip was to teach your kids that if they are lost or need help, to look for another child, and tell that child’s parent that they are lost. I thought it was genius. This was the elevated version of the lesson I had been taught many years before by my mom. Now that I have kids, I’ve come across the tip a handful of times over the years and every time I silently think how smart of an idea it is.

A Lost Child

Well last week I got to see it in action. I was taking my 4-year-old to swim lessons at Loyola University. If you aren’t familiar with the setup, the gym and pool are on the 5th floor, on top of a parking garage. When we arrived, I saw a sign outside of the garage advertising some kind of basketball tournament, and the parking garage was nearly full. We found a parking spot, I hurriedly got my son changed into his swim gear in the car, and we headed towards the elevator. There were a lot of people heading to the gym for the tournament.

We were walking, and I heard a little voice yelling “hey! hey!” I turned and saw a little girl, maybe 9-10 years old running towards us.

“Are you going upstairs?” she asked. I was quite confused and looked around for her parents. She was clearly alone, and I replied “yes.”

“Can I come with you?” she asked. Now I won’t lie, at this point I was certain this was some sort of setup, and a murderer was going to pop out at any moment. That’s just how my mind works.

I saw she was holding goggles, so I assumed she had the same destination as we did. I said “Sure, we are going to take the elevator.”

She looked so relieved and rushed over to stand with us to wait for the elevator. She asked my son if he was excited to swim, and we boarded the elevator. When we got to the gym floor and the elevator opened, it was chaotic. The gym was PACKED with athletes, spectators, and vendors. This was no small tournament.

I grabbed my son’s hand with my left hand and grabbed the little girl’s hand with my right hand and pulled them through the crowd. When we got through the crowd and made it to the locker room, she flashed me a big smile and said, “thank you A MOM!” and ran off towards the pool.


And at that very moment it all made sense. She was either lost, or just scared, and she had been taught to look for another child and look for “a mom.” I instantly smiled… the tried-and-true life lesson had struck again.

In hindsight, I probably could have and should have asked more (any) questions. If I had to guess, she was sent to the car to get her goggles and was either lost in or overwhelmed by the growing crowd of tournament goers. I’m assuming she saw an unexpected child in the midst of many adults and felt some reassurance.

I was a happy to help her in what may have been 5 very scary minutes. And I vow to teach my children the same lesson.

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in 2019 and son Beckham in 2021. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of People and Culture in the local healthcare and education industries. She is learning to embrace the chaos of life as a Mom. Danielle’s current struggle is navigating preschool options for her oldest and managing the endless appetite of her youngest. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys trying new things, thrifting, and is always in the middle of glittering or a DIY project. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.


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