On the evening of Thursday, January 29th, the San Lorenzo Valley Middle School basketball team had just finished practice at 6:30 pm. Outside, in the elementary school parking lot, a white delivery truck was parked. Inside there were multiple men waiting to take somebody else home with them. Who were they waiting for you may ask? Their goal was to kidnap the last player on the basketball team before he was picked up.
The student waited by the elementary school for his mother to arrive and take him back home. As the only other students left, two men exited the back of the vehicle and moved towards him. They then yelled to the student and asked him for help moving things in their truck. The student told them that his mother had arrived elsewhere to pick him up and ran away.
This student’s brave actions saved him from an unknown fate. There are many lessons that we can learn from his experience; one of which is to always make a plan in case of emergencies. What are the odds that your mother asked a few sketchy older men, that you have never met before, to come and pick you up without telling you? Many parents favor having a code word in case of emergencies, so that their children can verify the identity of a stranger sent to pick them up. If you have any reason to suspect that you may be in danger, do not hesitate to find someone you know. Going to the school office, a nearby business, or calling for help are the kind of precautions that save lives.
That is what the police and 911 operators are there for, to help keep people safe in the case of just such an emergency. Make a plan so that you are prepared if you ever have reason to believe that you are in danger. Hesitation can waste precious seconds and mean the difference between life and death. “Stranger danger” is a real and dangerous threat everywhere, not just in our community. We can all learn from this incredible student.
– Andy Wise