FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — Last Saturday morning if you recall the city of Freeport was recovering from a winter snowstorm that dropped what some say was nine inches of snow on the ground. Saturday morning was cold, blowing, windy and when everyone woke up that bitter cold day, shovels, snow blowers and snow plows were what was on everyone’s mind. While Freeport prepared itself to remove a ton of snow however, one five year old in the city that morning had something else planned for the day.
Turns out at around 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning a young five year old set out on a bitter cold snow trek to meet up with his Grandma at Church at the Salvation Army. The only problem; he was the only one who apparently knew of his plan.
Becky Taylor said she was sitting in the passenger seat of a plow truck that morning, as the downtown real estate office she works for was being plowed out, when the driver spotted a small child crossing the street. A child, without a coat on. Becky said she looked back behind the truck through the window, when she noticed what appeared to be a 4-6 year old kid walking up to the corner in sweat pants, long sleeve t-shirt and boots. No coat, no gloves, no hat.
Seeing the boy, and not seeing anyone else around, Becky said she immediately sprung from the truck and went up the kid.
“Are you okay?”, she asked. “Where are you going?”
The boy didn’t respond.
“Aren’t you cold?” Becky asked, as she began taking her coat off to wrap around the boy. The boy nodded his head yes, that he was.
“What’s your name?”, she asked him.
Again, the boy didn’t answer.
Knowing she would have to contact the police, Becky says she asked the boy to come warm up in the NextHome Real Estate office on the corner of Douglas and Galena. While in the office, after she had called 911, Becky said she continued to try and find out who the boy was.
“I offered him hot chocolate but he didn’t want it”, Becky said. “He finally took a drink of water and I was able to give him one of our stuffed Luke dogs, which he seemed to like.”
While it only took a few minutes for the police to arrive, Becky said she had a thought to see if the boy would know how to write his name.
“I’m going to give you this piece of paper and pen, do you think you could write your name for me”, she asked him. Becky said he took the piece of paper and pen and on it, wrote the name Dan.
“Your name is Dan?”, Becky tried to confirm.
The boy shook his head no.
“Daniel?” she asked again.
Finally, the boy confirmed that his name was Daniel and by then, the police had arrived. Still, no one knew where little Daniel was headed or where he may live.
“He just wouldn’t talk” Becky told us. “He wouldn’t talk to me, he wouldn’t talk to the police and he was afraid of the police”, she said.
The officer informed Becky that he would have to take the child to the police station. Seeing Daniel was afraid, Becky says she picked the boy up and carried him out to the police car. When she sat him down is when he finally said he was going to see his Grammy at the Salvation Army.
“It was horrible for me to witness all this” Becky said of the situation. “The poor little guy was alone, cold, scared, I didn’t know who he belonged to, where he came from, why he was out walking around in the near blizzard and it really bothered me to see him so afraid of the police.”
The officer who had arrived then took Daniel with him in his squad car, and after a while had returned to Becky’s office to inform her that grandma had been found. Daniel, was safe with his family.
“I am just happy this lil guy was reunited with his family” Becky said of the whole thing. “It’s a situation that could have ended far differently so I am very thankful for little Daniel and his family, that it didn’t.”
We’re told Daniel was home at the time with an older relative who was still asleep that morning, when Daniel thought he’d take it upon himself to go visit his Grandma.