Young girl hitchhiking to school horrifies grandma

WHAT would you do if you saw a child hitchhiking?

Would you stop and call police?

Hope someone decent picks them up and helps them get to the destination they so desperately need to get to?

Or abandon all thoughts and pick them up yourself, not caring about any possible consequences, just knowing you have to help the child before someone who might not, does?

When Debra Muhling saw a young girl dressed in her school uniform hitchhiking last week, she chose the latter.

The Ipswich grandmother told News Regional Media she was on the way to an appointment when she noticed a young girl standing on the side of the road, crying.

"As I passed her I turned my head back and noticed her still crying but she also looked to be hitchhiking!

"I did a double take to make sure I had seen right and yes she was indeed hitchhiking."

Debra managed to quickly pull into a side street and turn around, trying to get back to her as fast as she could.

"So many thoughts were going through my mind, the big one was 'Oh my God, please still be there'."

Debra said luckily, she was.

"I pulled up and she opened my car door and asked if I knew where her school was. She was asking me this as she was getting into my car."

The young girl was very upset. She told Debra she has missed her school bus and had tried to get on another bus but they said they didn't know where her school was.

The girl said her mum was at college and her step-dad at work.

She told Debra her name. And that she has a dog that always barks.

Debra asked her what grade she is in. She said she is in grade five.

"I asked her if she has heard of Daniel Morcombe and she said no," Debra said.

Once at the girl's school, Debra walked her to the office and informed the school what had happened.

"They too were horrified."

Since the incident, Debra said she has been unable to stop thinking about what could have happened to this little girl.

"I have not been able to sleep well since this happened. She is one very lucky little girl, so many things could of happened to her.

"I am gob smacked that a Year 5, 10-ish year old child would firstly, try to hitchhike and then jump into a stranger's car with no hesitation at all and three, had not heard of the Daniel Morcombe story."

Daniel Morcombe Foundation CEO Holly Brennan said all schools have the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum but not all of them are using it.

"Of course we need to make sure there is a curriculum and all students from prep to Year 10 have access to it but it is hard to tell how many schools are using it. It is a bit hit and miss for children to get that information."

Holly said the information to support teachers and parents is there.

"We need to get behind this.  It is up to us as adults to help children be protected.

"I hope every school that reads this story does something about it."

Holly said what the little girl did is logical.

"She was thinking the best and clearly resilient enough that she tried to get another bus.

"Maybe the driver of that second bus could have taken a moment to try and call her school.

"I know we're all busy but by taking a moment - those moments do save lives." 

And what Debra did was take one of those moments.

"Yes maybe I should of called the police, but really at the time that never even crossed my mind.

"The only thing as a mum and grandma I thought was get her to safety," Debra said.

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is hosting the annual Day for Daniel is on October 27, 2017. 

For the event in your region see the Daniel Morcombe Foundation website.

This year's theme is: wear red, educate and donate and for the first time - Australia's largest online child safety lesson. It will be broadcast online by Daniel's parents, Denise and Bruce Morcombe.

Topics:  child safety daniel morcombe foundation editors picks hitchhiking ipswich

News Corp Australia

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