Green Room

TX mom to 911: ‘I think I left my child at Chuck E. Cheese last night’

posted at 2:08 pm on March 17, 2012 by

There was a young woman with so many children she didn’t know what to do. That includes counting heads, to make sure she had all ten members of her brood in tow before heading home from a restaurant they had frequented (h/t The Smoking Gun).

In an audio of a 911 call received at 8 a.m. the following morning, the mother can be heard telling the dispatcher with utter equanimity, “I think I left my child at Chuck E. Cheese last night.” Putting aside for the moment the question of how you leave your own child at a public venue, even if you have ten, how do you not notice for 9 hours that the child is missing?

To add insult to injury, the purpose of the trip to the kid-friendly restaurant was to celebrate one of the children’s fifth birthday—and it was the birthday girl, no less, who was left behind.

The 32-year-old resident of Pearland, Texas, whose name has not been released, is now the subject of two independent investigations. One is by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the other by sheriff’s deputies who are probing the matter as a possible case of child endangerment or abandonment. The child, meantime, has been placed in emergency custody.

Authorities remain baffled over how this parental lapse occurred. All they have been able to ascertain so far is that the child was discovered, sitting by herself, by restaurant employees around 11 p.m. She was unable to provide details that would permit police to determine the identity of her parents or how to contact them.

Some birthday present!

The ultimate irony is Chuck E. Cheese’s motto: “Where a kid can be a kid.”

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ten kids!!! o___O i feel sorry for the 9 that are still left with this dumb mother…

Sachiko on March 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Did chuck e cheese call the cops for a kid left without a parent? This is so beyond dumb, my brain hurts. Even an animal will try and keep with her brood?

Now this IS a case for FREE bc of some kind for this gal!
L

letget on March 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

“Where a kid becomes a foster kid.”

4Grace on March 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

What 5-five year old–even one newly turned 5–is incapable of telling concerned adults her name, her mother’s name, her address and telephone number. This mother is an idiot and her unfortunate children are following in her footsteps.

balthazar on March 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Yet one more reason God did not intend humans to have litters and made our bodies to have one at a time. At some point even a GOOD mother (which I’m not sure she is) will find it nearly impossible to keep track of so many kids. With 10 kids and 2 arms to grab them with, what are you gonna do if some or all decide to run off in different directions?

What 5-five year old–even one newly turned 5–is incapable of telling concerned adults her name, her mother’s name, her address and telephone number. This mother is an idiot and her unfortunate children are following in her footsteps.

balthazar on March 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

This kind of info should be the first things children learn to memorize. I had our house address and phone # down pat from a DOS edutainment program before I was even in kindergarten. Thanks dad!

MelonCollie on March 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Obviously, for the children, we need our President to personally champion a comprehensive reform program to push through Congress and regulate this out of control reproductive crisis.
*
Item #1. There must now be a Federal Standard to determine just exactly how many children is enough for an American Family.
*
Item #2. Merge child safety with environmental safety. Since we are dealing with the spontaneous creation of more little carbon footprints, in order to save the planet for future generations of snail darters and red toed mosquitoes the President must personally intervene and save us all with new, brilliantly concieved and executed laws to establish new brilliant regulatory agencies to manage this national crisis.
*

You can see how this could go on for pages and pages.

I would guess around 2,000-2,500 pages ought to do it.

Welcome to Obamamerica.

Brian1972 on March 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Think this is an over reaction. Missing one out of ten for a few hours is not unreasonable or somehow negligent. Unless of course the mom was a helicopter mom. I thot part of problem with this culture was the overprotective parents. Typically throwing a party can be stressful on the parent with just a couple kids, with ten she must have been exhausted. I don’t care about her circumstances, just that stuff happens and the kid needs to be reunited. Before you throw stones at her, it was several days before Mary and Joseph missed twelve year old Jesus and had to backtrack.

AH_C on March 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Before you throw stones at her, it was several days before Mary and Joseph missed twelve year old Jesus and had to backtrack.

AH_C on March 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM

If this is in fact true then the Child Safety Division of the Department of Health and Human Services should immediately declare Joseph and Mary unfit to parent and sue the Catholic Church for $50 billion, cumulative restitution. :)

Brian1972 on March 17, 2012 at 6:47 PM

What 5-five year old–even one newly turned 5–is incapable of telling concerned adults her name, her mother’s name, her address and telephone number. This mother is an idiot and her unfortunate children are following in her footsteps.

balthazar on March 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

This kind of info should be the first things children learn to memorize. I had our house address and phone # down pat from a DOS edutainment program before I was even in kindergarten. Thanks dad!

MelonCollie on March 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I think I was probably six or seven by the time I could remember my phone number or knew my parents’ names.

Count to 10 on March 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Think this is an over reaction. Missing one out of ten for a few hours is not unreasonable or somehow negligent. Unless of course the mom was a helicopter mom. I thot part of problem with this culture was the overprotective parents. Typically throwing a party can be stressful on the parent with just a couple kids, with ten she must have been exhausted. I don’t care about her circumstances, just that stuff happens and the kid needs to be reunited. Before you throw stones at her, it was several days before Mary and Joseph missed twelve year old Jesus and had to backtrack.

AH_C on March 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Seriously? I don’t know any mother, exhausted or not, who would send her small children off to bed without checking on them to make sure they put on their pjs and brushed their teeth. She didn’t notice one of the beds was empty? She didn’t notice one of the car seats was empty on the ride home? Not only unreasonable but I believe this falls into the category of neglect.

hopeful on March 17, 2012 at 8:06 PM

She didn’t notice one of the beds was empty? She didn’t notice one of the car seats was empty on the ride home?

I doubt each kid has his own bed. Also, if you have ten kids, you no doubt have to take more than one car to the restaurant. Each driver probably thought the other had the kid.

io on March 17, 2012 at 8:31 PM

I doubt each kid has his own bed. Also, if you have ten kids, you no doubt have to take more than one car to the restaurant. Each driver probably thought the other had the kid.

io on March 17, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Not sure why people are defending this. It’s not like she left her sunglasses at the grocery store. Maybe they don’t each have their own bed but if you can’t count up to ten as you kiss each kid goodnight there is a problem.

hopeful on March 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

I wonder how much of her welfare check she will lose because of forgetting one of her kids….

liveammo on March 17, 2012 at 9:17 PM

As a part of a religious community, I’ve seen lots of large families, sometimes with less-than-attentive mothers. I can’t imagine, G-d forbid, any of them doing something like this. And if they did, they would be hysterical in the morning.

And ten kids by 32? Really? That’s a lot.

ChicagoJewishGuy on March 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Wait what?

They took her kid over this? Hasn’t anyone seen Home Alone?

Also, note that there was a total of 19 kids at the party that night. 10 kids in the family means using multiple vehicles to transport the family home, and it is very likely that the birthday girl would want to travel with her friends instead of with her family, so the mother most likely believed her daughter was with one of the other drivers. It’s very easy to construct this scenario:

“Mom, I going to go home with Betty’s mom”

“Okay” Betty’s mom is informed, and the mother leaves with her vehicle full of children.

Then the girl goes off to play in the ball room. Betty’s mother starts looking for the birthday girl. Betty tells her mom that she when home with her mother. Betty’s mom leaves the birthday girl behind.

That is a pretty normal occurrence.

Granted that 9 hours is quite a long time. Longest that ever happened in my family was 3 hours. My guess is that the mother was exhausted by the party, and lay down to rest, fell asleep and woke up the next morning.

This stuff happens when you have a big family. I got left behind on at least three different occasions. Once on a cross country road trip.

It generally scares the crap out of the parents who will be desperately looking for the child. Usually mine found the missing child before calling the police, but on one occasion they did call them for help. And isn’t that what a parent should do if they lose a child and can’t find them?

Do we really want a world where parents have to be afraid that if they call the police for help with finding a lost child that the police will take their kid away?

Now maybe there was something going on here besides merely misplacing a child. And granted that 9 hours is a very long time, so I could see putting the family under some observation or something. But if there wasn’t anything extra happening then I think yanking the child from the home is an over-reaction to a very common occurrence.

Geez, just about anyone in a family of more than 4 kids has had this experience happen to them at least once.

Also, no evidence that the mother is a single mother on welfare. She might be, be the absence of the mention of a husband doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We ought not leap to conclusions- especially when it comes to taking kids away from their parents.

Sackett on March 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Wow. We lost oldest one twice–once for only a few minutes (plus what it took to find her).

The other time was probably several hours, but I knew exactly where to look when the question arose.

The first time was a tiny but scary, but the second was no big deal, we thought.

Both seem funny to me now.

I don’t see this as a major big deal, certainly not to be putting a big hate on the mother.

lsheldon on March 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM

lsheldon on March 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM

There’s a HUGE difference between forgetting a child for a couple hours at a friend’s house or what have you, versus overnight in a public restaurant.

ChicagoJewishGuy on March 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Actually, I think the worst part of the story is that a five year old doesn’t know her personal information, or what to do if she gets lost. Most parents I know start teaching the kids this stuff as soon as they can talk. This is all pretty bad, but I don’t think it rises to the level of putting the poor kid in protective custody without further evidence of abuse/neglect.

bitsy on March 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Makes me reconsider the whole free birth control debate. /

vcferlita on March 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM

5 year-olds knowing their contact info?

I never remembered my home phone number until around 10 years old.

Only thing my parents ever taught me about what to do when lost was:

1: Stay in the same place and we will come find you
2: Trust police officers

Sackett on March 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I’m not sure why so many here are taking this women’s side.

Surely, one of the nannies or the dad would have missed the kid if the mom didn’t. If you are going to have 10 kids you must be wealthy enough to afford several nannies so there should have been plenty of adults there to keep track?

Ditkaca on March 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Also, no evidence that the mother is a single mother on welfare. She might be, be the absence of the mention of a husband doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We ought not leap to conclusions- especially when it comes to taking kids away from their parents.
Sackett on March 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Exactly. I have five kids myself and stuff happens. There’s not enough info on the family to draw any conclusion about the mom and family structure. And why are some quick to throw out the presumption of innocence? I think parents are entitled to an ooops every once in a while. Now if this happened several times without the mother learning from the mistake then you may have a problem. On the flipside if there’s a mother that would never ever make that kind of mistake, then she’s probably a helicopter mom, always paranoid and always hovering. And that kind of mentality ain’t good for the kids.

There’s a lot of things people think they will do as parents and then reality bites them. Another thing. Just because it is “customary” that parents tuck the kids in bed, it is in fact something that some do it but not everyone does it and is no reflection on the quality of parenthood.

AH_C on March 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Surely, one of the nannies or the dad would have missed the kid if the mom didn’t. If you are going to have 10 kids you must be wealthy enough to afford several nannies so there should have been plenty of adults there to keep track?
Ditkaca on March 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM

You don’t know what you’re talking about. Number of kids has nothing to do with wealth. Wealth only has to do with how much you can afford to spend on the family. But it certainly doesn’t determine the quality of the family. Parents determine that by their attitudes, training and discipline not by their wealth. Haven’t you heard time and again where someone recounts their upbringing and states they never realized they were “poor” growing up?

AH_C on March 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I think parents are entitled to an ooops every once in a while. Now if this happened several times without the mother learning from the mistake then you may have a problem.

AH_C on March 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Forgetting the kid till you get home, then coming back within an hour or two = oops.

Leaving a kid there overnight = failed parent. What if this was someplace where there’s not staffers? Like the beach or the park or something?

Quantus on March 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Quantus on March 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Absolutely. I’m floored by some here who think this is no big deal. For all the mom knew the child could have been left in the parking lot and wandering around all night. I suspect AH_C may have had done this to one of his/her own kids and is trying to justify themselves. He/she also seems stuck on an obsession with “helicopter parents.” While I agree smothering your children is not healthy, somewhere between that and being so lackadasical about supervision that you leave your child at a restaurant ALL night there is a happy medium. If you have so many children you can’t keep track of them then you need a system and if don’t have a system then you invite a few people to the house for cake and ice cream instead of taking ten kids out to a crowded restaurant. Basically, know your limits. And AH_C, most parents do tuck their children in at night and for smaller children, supervise the bedtime routine. It’s not being a helicopter parent, it’s being a loving parent who wants to touch base at the end of the day.

hopeful on March 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Also, no evidence that the mother is a single mother on welfare. She might be, be the absence of the mention of a husband doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We ought not leap to conclusions- especially when it comes to taking kids away from their parents.

Sackett on March 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Other articles do say she’s a single mother.

She’s 32. She has 10 biological children ranging in age from 2 to 15. She’s not (currently, at least) married.

Now granted, I haven’t seen anything that says she’s on welfare. However, I’d say it’s pretty unlikely that with a woman who started making babies at 16 and has been popping them out on average every 18 months is earning enough at a regular job (i.e., something legal) to support all those kids (including Chuck E Cheese birthday parties — something we never did for either of our 2 kids). Now I suppose it could be she inherited a pile of money from a rich uncle or maybe the baby daddy (daddys?) give her beaucoup dollars to support the brood. But I wouldn’t suggest you bet on it. The odds wouldn’t be in your favor.

CJ on March 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Good gracious, this child could have tried to walk home by herself or been targeted by a creep. Would it still be no big deal if the child was hurt?

LawnGnomeFanFirst on March 19, 2012 at 9:32 PM

The ultimate irony is Chuck E. Cheese’s motto: “Where a kid can be a kid.”
excerpt: Howard Portnoy

.
But if the truth be known, Chuck E. Cheese’s motto should read: “Where an adult can be a kid.”

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 2:37 PM