After a mix-up with his wife, United Kingdom’s prime minister David Cameron left his 8-year-old daughter, Nancy, behind in a pub, a spokesperson confirmed in The Guardian. The Cameron family had eaten lunch at The Plough Inn, a pub near their country home, with two other families.
Nancy was in the bathroom when Prime Minister Cameron and his wife, Samantha, left separately, each thinking the little girl was with the other parent. The prime minister was with his body guards in one car; Mrs. Cameron was with their other children, 6-year-old Arthur and 22-month-old Florence, in a different car. Upon returning home, they realized their error, and a quick phone call to the Plough Inn confirmed that Nancy was there, with pub staff members.
The prime minister drove back to the pub, and found his daughter making herself useful, helping staff, which is my favorite part of the whole story. She was separated from her parents for about 15 minutes.
A Plough insider told The Sun, “You’d have thought someone would have done a headcount or something. Pub staff found their daughter in the toilet and didn’t know what to do. It’s not like you can look up David Cameron in the phone book and then ring to say, ‘You’ve left your daughter behind’.”
It’s clear that at no point was this little girl in danger, and I can see how if you take to cars to a restaurant with three young kids, this could totally happen. And realizing that your kid is missing is absolutely the worst feeling in the world. Once I lost one of my toddler twins at a playground for a couple of minutes (although it seemed like eternity); she was playing inside a pretend train car. I found her and then promptly vomited. That experience probably shaved several months off my life expectancy.
I’m fascinated, though, that their security detail didn’t notice a missing kid. Of course, my only knowledge about Secret Service-type stuff is from watching West Wing, and maybe it works differently in England.
I do a headcount every time I leave anywhere with my kids, and I do one again once we’re in the car (that one’s actually counting seat belts, but same thing). I also count frequently when we’re out and about. It’s not so much a helicopter parent thing as it is that one of my kids is as easily distracted as the dog in Up, and she has a tendency to wander off. Not surprisingly, it’s the same one who wandered off and hid in the train on the playground at age 2.
In a weird way, if you don’t have escape-artist kids, it must be easier to lose track of them.
Have you ever momentarily lost your child?
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)