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NYU Hospital incident

How I Almost let a Child get Kidnapped

A couple of months ago I had just started working at the NYU hospital as a researcher. I was researching patients, mostly children, with rare mental disorders. I remember the incident happening on a Friday afternoon only because this happened within the first week at my job. I work in a small research office so these kinds of incidents never happen nor did I assume it was possible. The patient, we will call Rosa, was about 8 years old with the mental capacity of a 4-year-old. She came in with her mother for some basic testing to check on her neurological development and meet with the doctors. I was simply helping at the front at the time and checked them in. About 30 minutes pass before a guy, rather well dressed and clean-cut, walks in through the entrance and introduces himself as Rosa’s father.

I had no reason to suspect he was lying so I brought him to the testing room where Rosa was. Coincidentally at that time, Rosa’s mother was not in that room because she was in a meeting with the doctors discussing Rosa’s treatment. I returned to my desk unaware of what I had just done, and what would follow because of it. 5 minutes later, the man I believed was Rosa’s father walked back out to the front holding Rosa in his arms.When I looked at him he calmly said, “I’m just taking her to use the bathroom down the hall I’ll be right back.” Nothing out of the ordinary, so I responded with a simple, “Ok” and returned to doing my work. 10 minutes passed and I heard the mother asking where her daughter was, growing more frantic by the minute. I still didn’t know it was I who had messed up at this point, so I went to let her know that her husband had taken their daughter to the bathroom. When I told her she simply started tearing up while staring at me in disbelief, which quickly turned into anger.

screaming woman
She shoved her hand in my face, pointing to her ring finger screaming, “WHO TOOK MY CHILD, I AM NOT MARRIED, I HAVE NO HUSBAND!” It was at this moment I knew I had seriously messed up. I ran straight for a phone to call security and initiate a Code Pink (the universal single an abduction is taking place). We had the whole hospital on lockdown in minutes, and I just hoped that the kidnapper wasn’t able to escape the hospital that quickly.The next few minutes were frantic, the mother ran out in search of her child, we had guards running up and down searching for the suspect. Even the NYPD was on alert in the area surrounding the hospital. I was trying to open up our security feed so I could send out images of who the kidnapper was.

It was incredibly lucky that they were able to find him hiding in the hospital with the child within the next few minutes before he could escape. They brought the man and the child back up to the office to bring them to the mother. The security had found them hiding in the hospital back-stairwell on his way to the back parking, planning to use it as his escape route. The mother finally got her child back and identified the man as one of her ex-boyfriends before they finally took him away. I never got to find out what ended up happening to the man or what he was charged with but at the very least the child was safely reunited with her mother.

I was almost certain that because of this I was going to be fired, but luckily they left me off the hook. I still work here, just not in the front because it was kind of out of my control. That's just the craziness you will find when you're in New York City.


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