For the past month, herself has been doing an after school drama class and getting the bus home afterwards on her own which she really enjoys.
Yesterday, at about 4.10 when she should have been coming in the door, I got a call from a mobile number I didn’t recognise. A man with a foreign accent said, “I have your daughter, do you want to speak to her?” “Yes!” You will be relieved to hear that she had not been kidnapped. Due to the water charges protest there were no buses running and she went to a phone/internet shop to call me and tell me that she would be late as she was going to walk home. She tried to use the shop system but it didn’t work for her and the man behind the counter just let her use his phone which was very kind. But I didn’t want her to walk home as it would soon be dark and told her to wait outside the school and I would come and get her. It should only have taken about 10 minutes to get in but between getting out the door with the two boys and the remaining water charges traffic chaos it was nearly half an hour later and almost dark when I pulled up outside the school and picked up a frozen little figure from the top of the steps. She looked so small and cold outside the big locked door – all on her own in the city. It was grim for her and a number of passers by had inquired whether she was alright which is can be unnerving when you are small and alone although I am sure that their intentions were good.
It was all a bit upsetting but I am very proud of how she acquitted herself. I wish I had thought to tell her to wait in the nearby library which was warm and familiar but I hadn’t and, since she has no phone, couldn’t, of course, call her to tell her or to tell her about the traffic.
The campaign for a Christmas phone has just stepped up a notch.