South Floridians held their breaths last week waiting the outcome of a frightening situation. Three children were abducted in front of a Miami grocery store. Two of the little ones were 6 years old. The other was 5.
The youngsters had been left inside a car. Their father and uncle, Anthony Milhomme, ran inside to shop. The engine was left on, perhaps to keep the air conditioner running on a hot afternoon. When Milhomme came out he saw that the car and children were gone.
A frantic search ensued. Police issued an all-points bulletin. The mothers of the children rushed to the scene. They were distraught.
The youngsters were found almost three hours later. They appeared to be unharmed. One of the children reported being forcefully robbed of $5.
The alleged kidnapper was arrested. She was charged with grand theft auto, abduction and strong-arm robbery. Anthony Milhomme was also arrested. He was charged with child neglect and obstruction.
It seems Milhomme never thought his actions would cause harm to his children and their cousin. After all, it was a neighborhood store. It was daylight. He was coming right out. He thought it was safe.
Thankfully, the episode ended well. The outcome, however, could have been very different.
Years ago, on a vacation to New York, I was shocked to see strollers and carriages left on the sidewalks outside stores in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Babies were inside! My questions of “Who left their baby outside?” were met with stony silence, until I added that I was calling the police.
These mothers certainly never thought their actions could cause harm. After all, these were neighborhood stores in the heart of Boro Park. It was daylight. They were coming right out. They thought it was safe.
I doubt that any of the buggies on the sidewalk that summer day had a diamond bracelet or gold necklace in plain view. I doubt there was a wallet with cash and credit cards on the seat of any stroller. Certainly any expensive newly purchased item would not have been in a bag, draped over the handlebar.
So it is ironic that someone’s precious babies were left alone. They are the real jewels and treasures of life and they deserve to be treated with care. An unattended moment can result in disaster.