TL;DR - a neighbor and I found a another neighbors 3 year old child wandering around our apartment complex alone and unsupervised, but returned her to safety.

This morning, I was walking out of my apartment and I heard a loud pounding on a door down the hall. “Great,” I thought, “either someone got locked out or there’s going to be a fight.” Well I look over and this woman is pounding on the door to the apartment next door to mine. She looks up at me, and looks bewildered, almost terrified, and goes “Oh my god, do you know this little girl? Does she live here? Do these people even have kids?” She looked like she was about to cry. And standing next to her in pink PJs is a little 3 year old girl.

I’m not particularly social in my apartment complex and barely know my neighbors. I know they have at least one kid because I’ve heard a baby crying over there but other than that, I have no idea. So I walk over to talk to the woman, calm her down a little bit, and help her figure out what’s going on. Suddenly the little girl reaches up, opens the door, runs in and back out in a flash, now holding a pink VTech tablet (an iPad for babies). So either it’s her home or she’s an awesome little cat burglar. So we ask her if this is her home, if her parents are there, if she can go wake up her mom, all of which she refuses to acknowledge and decides to just play with her tablet instead. Finally she looks up, says, “I can’t go in or the monsters will get me,” and goes back to her tablet.

I really have no desire to go into a strangers apartment, and the woman feels like wise. The woman tells me she found the girl wandering in the lobby a bit before 7 when she was on her way back up to her apartment from the gym. It’s now almost 730, and the front desk person at our building doesn’t come in till 8. So I tell the woman “Let’s take her down to the lobby, I’m gonna call the police, and we’ll get this straightened out.” So we go to the lobby and wait. A few minutes after 8 the desk attendant shows up. She’s a really nice lady, and she recognizes the girl instantly, so we fill her in with whats going on. Apparently she’s a friend of the mother, babysits the girl a lot, so she offers to go take her home. No sooner than she gets on the elevator, but the police officer shows up. The woman and I spend a few minutes explaining everything to him, and he takes our info down and says he’s going to head upstairs and see whats going on. About that time the attendant returns; apparently the mother was feeling ill and had taken some Nyquil or whatever and was out cold in the bedroom with the door shut, which is why she never heard the banging on the door.

Fortunately, crisis avoided. But what was crazy is that this little girl undid the deadbolt, opened the door, closed it behind her, got on the elevator and rode it down to the lobby and was wandering around by herself. And she was super friendly to everyone, while we were waiting in the lobby she waved and said hi to every single person passing through that was leaving for work or whatnot. I’m so happy the wrong person didn’t find her and kidnap her because it probably wouldn’t have been difficult to do.

So the moral of the story is, childproof your shit.