Have you ever been lost before? Have you ever lost a child before? It’s a whirlwind of emotions, but a few Escambia County Sheriff’s Deputies say they were trying to help a young boy ease those feelings. Now, with tens of thousands of shares, those good deeds are bringing the spotlight to Escambia County.
It was just another Tuesday on Pensacola Beach. Sergeant Christopher Knotts was working a security side job when someone told him about a problem.
“The staff at The Hilton actually brought my attention to a kid who had wandered off from his mom,” said Sgt. Knotts.
The 5-year-old kid was lost on the beach, and not sure where to look. His only description of his parent’s location– was a blue umbrella.
“Sweet little kid, complained that his feet were hurting,” said Sgt. Knotts. “I know what I do with my son most of the time when he wants a ride, I put him up on my shoulders. I asked him if he wanted a ride on my shoulders and he said that he did. It seemed like a pretty decent place where anyone who was looking for him would be able to see him and I’d be able to carry him with ease.”
Sgt Knotts took the boy to Deputy Lionel Martinez, who was patrolling the beach.
“The age of the child that was missing the other day was the same age as my daughter,” said Dep. Martinez. “So, it’s imperative that we get the families back together because we don’t want the child to get scared.”
The parents notified a lifeguard, and the lifeguard called the Sheriff’s Office… and you know how this ends. The two found themselves reunited.
“We saw the officer walking towards us with the child on his shoulder blades, and I immediately thought… this guy definitely needs some recognition for whatever he was doing,” said Jessica Barnes, who snapped a few pictures of the deputies with the boy, and shared them on social media.
“Originally, we had just a couple here and there, and within a matter of minutes, it went up to 800, and from there it just kept spinning,” said Barnes.
The shares keep adding up and eclipsed 20,000 within 24 hours.
“Initially, it was just to give someone recognition for doing their typical job, but it’s turned into so much more than that,” Barnes exclaimed.
The whole ordeal lasted about 25 minutes, and the parents won’t be facing charges.
“This was simply a miscommunication of the type that can happen with anyone at the beach,” said Sgt. Knotts. “There was absolutely no issues with the parents. I actually felt really bad for both the little kid and the parent but we got to make a new friend out of the entire experience.”
Deputies suggest writing your name and phone number somewhere on your child, or their flotation device, to avoid the search. They say kids get separated from their parents every day on the beach.