After Running Late to Daycare Pickup, This Mother Found Her 2-Year-Old Locked Inside Daycare, Completely Alone
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to discover they left their children in the care of someone who neglected them. Well, that worst nightmare became a reality for Florida mother Stephanie Martinez, who went to pick up her 2-year-old daughter Anastasia from daycare on Thursday.
When Martinez arrived late (around 20 minutes after pickup time), she found all the lights turned off and the doors to the KinderCare Learning Centers locked. But, Martinez’s daughter was still inside.
Panicked, Martinez called for her little girl and pounded on the doors and windows. After a while, Anastasia poked her head out from a window of the locked door. The 2-year-old had pulled a chair up to the window and climbed on it so she could see her mother.
Realizing that her daughter was trapped inside, Martinez called 911 and waited for first responders to come rescue her baby. Martinez recorded the entire ordeal on her phone, including her emotional 911 call. “Honey, I’m coming okay?” Martinez called out to her daughter through the door, in tears.
This is that baby girl. pic.twitter.com/BVof7wMMJp— ~𝓣𝓮𝓷𝓪𝓬𝓲𝓸𝓾𝓼 𝓣𝓮𝓪𝓱~ (@TeahCartel) February 21, 2022
Martinez explained the situation to the 911 operator, telling her that her daughter was trapped inside the daycare. “She’s inside by herself?” asked the operator, sounding surprised. “Yeah, she’s crying,” said Martinez, her voice choked with tears. “She’s inside by herself.”
Eventually, firefighters came and pried open the doors, leaving Martinez to finally be reunited with her daughter.
But now, the Florida mother is furious that she and her daughter were put through such an ordeal, telling South Florida NBC 6 that her daughter is “traumatized.”
“It’s the worst feeling ever. You feel helpless,” Martinez told the local news channel. “You can’t do anything to console her. She was definitely stressed out and definitely crying the whole time she was there by herself.”
Employees of KinderCare Learning Centers in Plantation, Florida, where the incident took place, told authorities that they use tablets to check children in and out.
But Martinez doesn’t accept the excuse that forgetting her daughter behind was just a simple mistake. One of Martinez’s close friends, Samantha Scaramellino, took to Facebook to describe the harrowing situation in further detail.
“After talking to another parent who picked up about 10 to 15 minutes before my friend arrived, [the other parent] says numerous kids were still there and [Anastasia] was seen running around yelling. So she wasn’t asleep.”
Scaramellino revealed that the director of KinderCare “heard hours after the incident and sent [Martinez] a text, not even a call, to check on the child.”
In response to the incident, KinderCare Learning Centers released the following statement: “At KinderCare, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the children in our care. While we’re thankful the child was quickly found and was safe, this incident should not have happened.”
They also added that they “placed the staff members involved on administrative leave” while they “looked into the incident.”
According to local news station WPLG, Martinez is pursuing legal action against the daycare center. “The entire event could’ve been avoided if KinderCare did not abandon their responsibilities and the toddler,” Martinez’s attorney said in a statement.
“What adds insult to injury is that nobody at KinderCare bothered to answer the phone in this emergency situation, they failed to apologize for their bad behavior and they failed to provide anything but a bad excuse for what happened.”