When parents send their kids to school, they send them with the hope that the adults they’ve trusted to take care of them will, you know, actually take care of them. Especially for parents sending their kids to school for the first time, there’s a lot of anxiety around making sure the world cares for your kid as much as you do. So when TikTok user @kellymulholland95 sent her son off to kindergarten, she had the same hope in mind.
Sadly though, as the mom shared in a video, her son was not as safe as she would have hoped. She shared that her son, as well as her boyfriend’s daughter, both got off at the wrong bus stop. According to her video, her son got off at the stop prior to his correct stop, and the bus driver did not check the tag on his backpack to verify that her son was getting off in the right place.
Kelly Mulholland found all this out second hand, however. When she went to the bus stop to pick up her son and boyfriend’s daughter, she started asking the other kids if they saw them, and one of the older kids on the bus said he saw them get off at the stop prior. However, when Mulholland asked the bus driver about her son and where the last stop was, she claims he just kept pointing backwards saying “Down on the corner, down there,” rather than giving specific street names.
Thankfully, a neighbor pulled up and asked Mulholland if she’s looking for two kids. Turns out, her son went to the stranger’s house and rang his Ring doorbell, and the home owner was on his way back from work when he got the notification. We saw a clip of that interaction in the beginning of the TikTok. Mulholland, the stranger, and several other neighbors at this point start a hunt looking for Mulholland’s kids after realizing they walked away from the home where the doorbell was.
Following up with a part two, Mulholland finally shares that she was able to find the kids over an hour after they were initially dropped off. However, they were over a mile from the correct stop, and Mulholland claims the heat in Oklahoma was over 100 degrees the day this all happened as well. Thankfully, another neighbor let Mulholland’s son and the boyfriend’s daughter in out of the heat.
After following up with the transportation department for the school district, Mulholland and her boyfriend discovered the bus driver did not follow a number of policies in this situation. Many in the comments of the second part were demanding the driver involved be fired, but Mulholland unfortunately had no news on that front.
While Mulholland’s story thankfully has a happy ending, children who end up in situations like this are extremely vulnerable to kidnapping, child endangerment, and other harmful crimes. Many school districts offer classes regarding what to do if your child goes missing when the school year starts, as new routines oftentimes cause situations such as Mulholland’s to occur. There’s a variety of organizations in the U.S. dedicated specifically to missing children and how to handle similar situations, as well as tools you can use to educate your children if they are separated from you.
Naturally, the comments on Mulholland’s tale are extremely sympathetic with her. “This terrifies me beyond words. Anyone could’ve taken them,” left one concerned commentor. Another said “My heart breaks, thank God those babies are okay!!” Unfortunately, many of the comments were also sharing their own stories of their kids being lost thanks to issues with their bus routes and bus drivers. One commentor shared “They just tried to drop a kindergarten boy off at my house. I told them I didn’t know him. They didn’t believe me!” Another recalled “This happened to me when I was younger, I got dropped off at my old house!”
With back to school season in full swing, many commentors are also sharing tips on how to keep their kid safe in situations like Mulholland’s. One parent recalled “When mine were little they pinned a laminated card to the child with all their info; Parent’s name, phone number, address, bus number, teacher’s name, etc.” Another suggested Mullholland add “An Air Tag and a laminated card with your name and phone number in his backpack.” One even suggested a smart watch, saying “Get them one of those Gizmo watches with tracking. They can also call you with it.” They definitely weren’t kidding when they said it takes a village to raise a child.