When I saw the picture above, of a young Milwaukee boy named Toby, and read the brief news account which said he’d been abandoned and was in the custody of Child Protective Services, I wondered what sort of heartless bastard could abandon a little boy like this, and I actually teared up.
I handed my iPad with Toby’s picture to my wife and said “can you imagine someone abandoning this kid at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee”? We both shook our heads and commented on what a cold, cruel place the world can be.
I saw the story on Twitter – the de facto source for all breaking news these days – and the face of that sweet, innocent boy haunted me. My mind kept coming back to the story, thinking “who could do such a thing?” The world is full of enough dangers for anyone’s 3-year-old child, but to think that someone had dumped this kid at a McDonald’s on Mayfair at Burleigh in Wauwatosa and just left him to fend for himself – well, that’s a new depth of depravity.
Initial reports said the boy spent the night with the manager of the McDonald’s when no one came to get him by closing time, and that Wauwatosa police were going to extraordinary means to try and find out who this little boy’s people might be….and in the meantime, they’d taken him to Child Protective Services.
Decades of work in the nooz biz have left me pretty jaded – I’ve seen some horrible stuff – but Toby’s face kept popping up in my mind.
As it turns out, the cops asked the Milwaukee media to show this picture of Toby, requesting anyone who recognized the little boy to call the cops. Toby’s mother saw the picture and rushed to the police station.
Toby is in one of those horrible custody tug-of-war battles between two apparently clueless adults. Toby’s grandma dropped him off at the McDonald’s, which has been the designated drop-off point for several weeks. Usually one of the parents comes to pick him up, but….nobody showed up.
How could any adult leave a 3-year-old child to fend for himself, without waiting until the other person actually showed up to take charge of the child? C’mon, gramma….what kind of person are you?
As of this writing, Wauwatosa police and Child Protective Services have quite a few more questions to ask of Toby’s parents, and both agencies say they have to sort through a lot of details to determine whether Toby is better off with one of his parents – or in another situation.
Regardless of court-ordered custody arrangements, “misunderstandings”, parental disputes, and poor parenting and grandparenting….who could do such a thing to this child?