I Once Found a Baby in a Parking Lot

As Told To Francesca Mecionis

About four years ago, on our annual vacation to Wildwood, my father came back around 11PM to tell my Mom and two younger brothers why he was “grocery shopping” for nearly four hours.

I’ve been vacationing in Wildwood Crest, NJ for about 37 years, and never have I experienced something like this.

Our family has the same routine every year. We get to the hotel, unpack, and get all the luggage upstairs. Mom usually makes a list, and I take the 7 mile drive to the ShopRite of Rio Grande to get the groceries for the week. When I went, it was about 7:30 at night, not too dark out, like dusk. I was finished by 9 or 10PM, and I had all the groceries packed in the car.

As I was about to back up, I noticed something in my left mirror walk by and I thought it was a kid. I was like, “It can’t be a kid…maybe it was a dog…you know what? Let me go check.” I got out of the car, I walked around the back and there she was. A little girl, probably about a year and a half old with blonde hair, big blue eyes, a cute blue and white dress. She looked like a little Shirley Temple.

ShopRite isn’t the only building in the complex, and there was maybe about 50 cars out of the 500 spots in the whole parking lot. It was insane because there was nobody around, and every car was off.

The ShopRite of Rio Grande, NJ.

So I was like, “Come here baby, come here” and picked her up. She was chewing gum and kept just saying “Hi, hi, gum.” It was so weird, you could tell she was taken care of and that she was clean.

I started yelling for someone to come, in case they were looking for her. I kept screaming “HELLLOOO? HEELLLO? DID ANYONE LOSE A BABY?” for a couple of minutes, and no one came.

So I went back into ShopRite to the courtesy counter, and I said “You people have to call the police.”

The employees just looked at me like ‘why?’ So I told them, “I just found this little girl in the parking lot.”

They were like “WHAT? Nooo…”

So I said, “Yeah I did. I just found this baby in the parking lot.”

They replied, “You can just leave her with us, we think we might know who she is.” One of the employees recognized her because she apparently shops there with her mother and is always chewing gum.

I was like “Ugh, no. Nobody is getting this baby. You gotta call the police, I want the police here.” But they just kept telling me to leave her with them.

So I finally said fine, and I left her with the woman who said she knew her. And I went back outside in case anyone came looking for the little girl.

I waited probably about another 15 minutes almost and finally, I hear somebody yelling at the farthest end of the parking lot, which led out to a development in the back. Some lady is screaming, and I yell back “HEEYYY, DID YOU LOSE A BABY?” and she’s like, “YEEESSS!!!”

I was livid when she reached me. I’m like, “How did you lose your baby?!”

So she said, stuttering, “I don’t know how she did this! Ugh, ugh, I was watching her one second and the next she was gone!”

I was thinking, “What do I even say to her?” I told her that was terrible, and sort of scolded her a little, but she just kept thanking me and thanking me.

When we went inside to get her daughter, I was a little taken back the employees would just give the little girl right back to the mother and not call child services or the police. I guess it really could have been an accident, but I just went back outside to the car, and went home.

It was totally surreal. Who could say “I found a baby in the parking lot.” It was one hell of a way to start a vacation.

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