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‘Who the hell has my baby?’ I arrived at preschool to learn my baby was gone

I can’t imagine the fear of realizing my baby was gone or stolen. But, this terrifying moment happened to a mom who wants to share her story in hopes of creating awareness. For mom, Jessie Harris Bouton, a life and business coach from New York who shares her utterly mind-blowing account of what unfolded when she arrived at her 3-year-old daughter, Lola’s school, to collect her. 

Stranger Danger is real

As a matter of fact, Jessie’s social media account has 9700 followers. As I have noted, she shared her horrifying story of “Stranger Danger” in the time of Covid. Reaching many, many people. Upon arriving at the school, Jessie was informed by Lola’s teacher that her grandfather has already picked her up. The teacher did mention that Lola was a little “hesitant” to leave with the gentleman. All things considered, he had on a mask as per usual protocols. The same protocols that all of us have gotten so used to, seeing only half of each other’s faces! Basically, the staff assumed that Lola was just sad she was not being picked up by her mother.[1]

my baby was gone
via instagram @jessieharrisbouton

My baby was gone

Above all, what followed thereafter will stay with Jessie forever, and even though she said, “I had a funny feeling. I arrived home to find NO LOLA with my father-in-law. HOLY S***. WHO THE HELL HAS MY BABY?”  Basically, in her words, what began with frantic calls to everyone in the family to see if one of them had collected Lola, was the “Longest and most terrifying 15 minutes of [her] life.

Jessie is urging other parents to teach their children the dangers of talking to strangers and to ask to see their face if they're wearing a mask

Consequently charging back to the school, Jessie was monumentally relieved to find Lola has been returned to the school by one of her school friends’ grandfather, who regularly picked up his granddaughter from school. So, unbeknownst to the teacher, she unwittingly handed Lola over to the grandad, thinking it was her grandad!  Finally, it’s horrifying to think that masks that are essential for our safety were the reason that caused this confusion.[1]

YES, it’s crazy that the man didn’t notice it wasn’t his granddaughter. YES, it’s crazy the school doesn’t have a policy in place to ensure a mistake like that doesn’t happen.”

New lessons have been learnt

Accordingly, The message is clear from this experience that parents need to take heed of this event and urge their friends and family who have children to teach them about stranger danger with this new added issue of masks. The importance of children being aware that it is okay to ask people to lower their masks so they can see the person’s whole face. All in all, this is to protect them if they are unsure of who it is, is critical in these times. And, above all and probably the most significant lesson here is as Jessie Harris Bouton pleads:[2]

Teach your kids it’s ok to ask to see faces if they aren’t sure it’s someone they know. Teach them to understand that adults can make mistakes too. To speak up and use their voice if they think something isn’t right. And lastly – things like this happen every day and so many aren’t as fortunate as me to get their baby back in their arms safely. For tonight, I count my blessings. Tomorrow, I stand up and advocate for better policies for our children’s safety.”

Keep Reading: Couple ‘Pressured’ into 2nd Kid Wants to Put Baby Up for Adoption After Family Ghosts Them


  1. Mum’s terrifying warning after her three-year-old went missing from school after being picked up by a stranger in a mask.” The Sun. Lydia Hawken. March 30, 2021.
  2. Mum’s terrifying warning after stranger in COVID mask picks up daughter.Kidspot. Pilar Grace. March 31, 2021