Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm a busybody

I was just walking along minding my own business going over in my mind my plans for the rest of the day when I noticed something being dropped from a window across the road.

Little boy had thrown a toy out from his first floor window.

The ground was strewn with soft toys and books. Next a framed photograph was hurled out.

I thought his mum is not going to like that.

Maybe she does not know that this is happening. So I crossed the road and rang the bell, and knocked.

It was a house that had been converted into two flats so maybe no one heard me.

I asked the boy in blue pyjamas where his mum was, was she asleep, was she not well, etc.

He attempted to give answers but they were not very coherent.

Maybe she's lying unconscious and needed help.

The boy indicated that he wanted back something he had thrown out. The window was not secured at all and there was every possibility that he would climb out.

Immediately my training on child protection, etc. kicked in.

I told him to stay where he was and I would get someone to get the stuff back to him.

Rushed home (about 50 yards away), rang the police (while putting my shopping in the fridge) and decided I must get back to the boy.

I nearly died: He was now standing full length/height on the window sill.

"Sit down! Get down from there! Someone is coming to help you."

He seemed pleased to see me. Very friendly.

Meanwhile I tried getting information about his mum. Again incoherently she had taken the car out over there ... Didn't make sense.

"You have lots of books," I said, "You like reading?"

No answer.

My objective was keep his feet on the floor as I heard police siren approaching.

Saw the patrol car and waved it down.

Two young male officers (men in uniform!) arrived. One stepped out immediately and I said I was the one who reported the case. Immediately he spoke to the boy to reassure him and then checked for an open window on the ground floor.

Did I say 'open window'? It looked like an open window several feet above ground, nose height for me. In fact there were no hinges. The officer simply removed the 'window'.

He decided (being the "slim one") to stick his head (much of his upper body) in and managed to open the front door.

But we were then confronted by two locked doors and we did not know which one it was.

Meanwhile a supporting police van had arrived. Officer said he had the equipment to bash the door down.

No need for that. I don't think the neighbours will be pleased.

After a lot of shouting (talking to the boy) and banging on doors, and checking the back garden, finally an adult face appeared at the window.

Then minutes later a woman finally answered the door and sounded surprised at the mess in the front of her flat.

I didn't see her face. I did not wish to see her face. She was not aggressive or anything, but I know this case (if the police are doing their job) will be passed on to Social Services. And she's not going to like that.

Why did it take so long to rouse her? How often has this kid been sitting/standing by the unsecured window unsupervised? There was a fold-up walker in the porch area. Is there another baby who is also at risk?

I stood behind the bushes where I hoped she had not seen me. The officer from the van shouted to the other two if they might wish to take details of "the doctor".

I replied that his colleague on the phone already has the details.

I am a bit distressed that that little boy might have been distressed. (You should see his face when the police car drew up. But the officers were very good at reassuring him.) And I hope and pray that his mother is not prone to leaving him to his own devices like that.

I hope, for the sake of the boy, the police officers had entered the house to check its condition to suss how the two (or three or more) are living in there. I hope somebody would fix that window fast or the next time the boy might be in real danger.

Little children deserve better than that.

This is your busybody blogger signing off.


sheri said...

Wow! That is really sad for the boy! I hope the police follow through so he gets better care. Good for you for getting involved.

Yoke Ping said...

Sepak the marder lah!

When we bought our apartment, husband and I debated a while on the topic of installing grilles on our windows. Neither of us liked the idea. However, as #3 and #4 were on their way and #1 and #2 were only 4 and 2 years old respectively, we decided that we could live with the ugliness. We would not be able to live with anything (let alone anybody) falling 21 floors down.