Parents cannot be by their children's sides 24/7, and occasionally their youngsters end up in dangerous situations—a mother learned this the hard way, and she expected the worst when she received a shocking phone call.
Parents will do anything to ensure the safety of their little ones, but sometimes they hand over the responsibility of their wellbeing to another adult. Sadly, people aren't always as alert and aware as they should be.
A mom and dad shared their daughter's story, describing the terrible period they learned she was nowhere to be found. The parents wanted to warn other guardians so no one else experienced the same fears they did.
Monica Gilliam. | Source: facebook.com/Inside.Edition
AN UNACCOMPANIED MINOR
When a mom from Chattanooga, Tennessee, dropped her beloved child at the airport in 2022, she believed the experience would go smoothly. Monica Gilliam was sending her 12-year-old daughter, Kimber, to visit her dad.
Her little girl was an easy target for any potential criminals, and Gilliam's world fell apart when she received a phone call no parents wanted.
He lived in Miami, and the youngster eagerly climbed aboard the plane wearing a tag noting she was an unaccompanied minor. However, when she arrived, things didn't go as expected.
LOST AND CONFUSED
The American Airlines(AA) flight landed early, and Kimber's dad was not yet inside the airport to collect her. A flight attendant was assigned to escort the youngster, staying with her until she was safely under the protection of her parent.
The AA reportedly has guidelines stipulating the procedure for children aged five to 14. They offer a service for these minors that ensures no harm comes to them while traveling alone.
However, when Kimber disembarked the plane, she stated the flight attendants waved at her as she walked past them. Reportedly, nobody offered the little girl any assistance, and she was scared, not knowing what to do or where to go.
SHE WAS AN EASY TARGET
Kimber kept walking because the flight attendants had said goodbye to her. Consequently, she found herself in a busy airport with a tag that alerted everyone she had no adult supervision. Gilliam added:
"So, she [was] going through the airport with that billboard on her that she was an unaccompanied minor in one of the largest human trafficking hubs in the country."
The mother added: "The thought of what could have happened is unbearable." Her little girl was an easy target for any potential criminals, and Gilliam's world fell apart when she received a phone call no parents wanted.
Monica Gilliam. | Source: tiktok.com/@relativelymonica
THE SHOCKING PHONE CALL
The mother vividly remembered when she learned that her child was wandering an airport alone, possibly afraid or worse—being kidnapped. Gilliam alleged:
"Almost an hour after her flight landed, I got a call from American Airlines. It was the [AA] manager at Miami ... He says, 'Your child is missing. We've shut down the terminal. We don't know where she is.'"
Gilliam was outraged that the AA staff failed to do their job and protect her daughter. She spent an hour terrified and thinking of the possible outcomes, all with disastrous endings.
THE YOUNGSTER MADE A PLAN
Without any adult assistance, Kimber managed to contact her dad. He was shocked to discover his child was not in the care of flight personnel, so he used video calling services to direct his daughter through the busy airport.
By reading the signs, he led her to the baggage claiming terminal, where he eventually reunited with her. The mother and father were relieved that nothing terrible had happened to their child, but they were furious. The angered mom expressed:
"You failed her, and you didn’t do your job. And it could’ve been the last time I saw my daughter."
Kimber's dad. | Source: facebook.com/Inside.Edition
A WARNING FOR OTHER PARENTS
"I don't want this to happen to anybody else, and if your child is flying an unaccompanied flight with American Airlines, then consider that.
Commenters had varying opinions, and some blamed the mother for allowing her daughter to travel alone. However, many also indicated that parents should be able to rely on the airline's promises.
THE AIRLINE'S REACTION
"We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what occurred. A member of our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience."
Sadly, the damage was done, and a terrified Kimber told her mom she was no longer comfortable flying. Gilliam explained that she made plans to drive down to collect her daughter once the visit with her dad was over.
Adults who don't act responsibly can create dangerous situations for the children in their care. How would you react if your child went missing, and do you think the suspension was adequate punishment for the flight attendant?
Please share this little girl's experience so that other parents know the dangers their kids might face when traveling alone. While many places have safety protocols for minors, it is a good idea to double-check and insist on extra care.
Click here for another story about a missing child. His father waited to collect him from the airport, but the youngster was nowhere to be found after his flight landed.
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