Parking Enforcement Officer Katharine Bingham had just started her shift, around 4:30 in the morning, and was driving eastbound on Trethewey Drive, when she saw something in the middle of the road.
Slowing down a little, she realized it was a boy in a T-shirt and diaper.
“It scared me at first. I actually looked around thinking: why is this parent here with this child at this time in the morning? It didn’t really click in that he wasn’t with somebody who he should’ve been with,” said Bingham, who pulled over and walked up to the child.
“He didn’t say anything, he wasn’t speaking, he was kind of laughing like it was fun for him since he was out in the middle of the road running around. But he didn’t try to run away from me or anything. I just picked him up and bought him to the sidewalk,” said Bingham, who then called dispatch and her supervisor.
Police officers were there in a few minutes and a search began for the child’s family. There were several low-rise buildings in the area and police started knocking on doors.
“Trethewey is a windy road, it’s a 40 km/h zone, but people don’t really see people walking across the road, especially at 4:30 in the morning, I just saw him and took him off the road,” said Bingham, knowing she was lucky to spot the boy that Sunday morning.
Along with Patrol Supervisor James Leslie, who had also arrived on scene and with some constables, everyone began canvassing the neighbourhood. According to Leslie, in about an hour police found an apartment building with the door ajar and put two-and-two together.
“Mom hadn’t realized the boy was out,” said Leslie, of the distraught mother of the young boy, who has a disability.
Leslie said Bingham showed great composure in handling the situation and comforting the boy.
“She was very calm. She is a very calm person as it is,” said Leslie, adding Bingham had an extra pair of socks with her, which she put on the boy before paramedics arrived, as well as sheltering him from the cold of the morning.
Parking Enforcement Officers not only hand out tickets, but are eyes and ears for the Service to ensure the safety of the community.
“I feel good, I’m really happy that he was found and that he was okay and I was at the right place at the right time,” said Bingham, of helping get the young boy home safe.