It may be a bit embarrassing, but this method of responding to a missing child may be a lifesaver.

As the Independent reports, U.K. blogger Vicky Hamilton-Ross recently experienced the feeling of cold terror that comes when a small child disappears. 

On her blog, Oliver’s Outings, Hamilton-Ross described being at a crowded beach vacation spot with family — including her 4-year-old nephew, Jake. Jake is a shy child who knows not to leave his mom or talk to strangers. So he was content to hold his mother’s hand.

But it only took a few seconds for all of that to go out the window:

They stopped to look at a stall and [Jake’s mom] let go of his hand to pick something up, it was just a couple of minutes, if that.

When she looked round to take his hand he wasn’t there!

Immediately, Jake’s mother began calling his name, believing that he couldn’t have wandered far in so short a time.

Her shouting soon got the attention of an army cadet who was there as part of the event. Hamilton-Ross wrote:

[The cadet] wasted no time and himself and the other guys stewarding started shouting “we are looking for a boy” “He is 4yrs old, blonde and in a red T shirt. Have you seen him?” They repeated this loudly and constantly as they covered the areas nearby.

Fifteen minutes later, they found Jake on a different section of the beach. The story he told was chilling. Jake hadn’t simply wandered off. He’d been lured away by a stranger:

The detail Jake gave would make any parents blood run cold… “There was a bald man in a white t-shirt, he said he would take me to see a real rocket ship.” He wasn’t inclined to lie as a child and this seemed very genuine.

Hamilton-Ross added:

The police think this was an unplanned abduction, He had to walk a fair way on the beach before he could get to the road, so it was risky.

So he basically just saw Jake and took his chance, how quickly it happened is scary.

As Jake’s aunt explained, what saved her nephew from the kidnapper was the quick action and detail given by the shouting cadets:

By very quickly shouting out the description of Jake and that he was lost, it meant the guy couldn’t leave the beach without being spotted, so he just left Jake and walked away.

That’s why she wants other parents to know that if your child goes missing, it’s important to spread that information (including the description) quickly, clearly, and loudly. As she wrote on her blog:

“I would urge every parent to do this immediately, even if you suspect they are just round the corner, what’s the worst that could happen, you are slightly embarrassed because they hadn’t gone anywhere? Well worth that risk.”

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