Getting separated from your child on a day out is the stuff of nightmares for most parents – but for one mum it was recently a reality. Kelly Asprey and her four children from Eastleigh, Southampton, were visiting London on Wednesday, August 24, when the mum got separated from her seven-year-old son Quinn while getting on the Tube at Victoria Underground Station.
Kelly, 38, pushed the emergency button at the station, as she had no idea where her son was. Thankfully the pair were reunited, due to a photo hack, that she has since urged all parents to try for themselves when they leave the house.
The parent had taken a snap of her children together, moments before Quinn was separated from them. This meant that Underground staff would know exactly what the schoolboy was wearing to help find him.
Initially, when a train guard asked what her son had been wearing, Kelly was so panicked that her mind went ‘blank’ and she could only remember that he’d had on a blue top. However, she then recalled the picture.
Thanks to the image, staff found him two stops away at South Kensington tube station, in his Fareham Town football club shirt and quickly reunited him with his family.
Luckily, the family were only separated for about 10 minutes in total, but the mum admits it felt like much longer.
Kelly, an NHS maternity support worker, said: “I would absolutely suggest other parents take photos of their children when out on busy days in case someone goes missing.
“We were only in London for the day – it was the first time we’d taken them all to London using public transport. We booked it before the summer holidays started and were really looking forward to it.
“As we got off the train at Waterloo, I said I’d like to get a photo of them all before we start moving between stations and tube trains in case we lose someone, then we know what they are wearing.
“I have done this before when we go somewhere new or further from home and feel it’s important, and that day just so happened to be the day I needed this photo.”
She continued: “We went up an escalator and Quinn was in front of me with everyone else following. As we got to the top, it split into two directions and I looked over my shoulder for a second to check everyone was there so we were together to head in to the next tube.
“As I looked back around, Quinn had disappeared. I called out his name, thinking he would call back but no response. I kept calling him, frantically and panicked. I was sweating and shaking and felt sick.
“I shouted ‘my little boy is lost and I don’t know what to do’ and someone asked if he had a blue shirt on because she had seen a little boy get on a train.
“Someone told me to push the emergency button and a guard came to help. With their lost child protocol, we were reunited shortly, with Quinn being found and held by staff two stops away.”
She added: “I could get the photo up that I had taken, showing his blue and red Fareham Town football club shirt we had purchased the day before. I luckily had that photo as a way to offer the staff a way to identify him, especially as I was too overcome to think straight.
“I’d absolutely urge others to take photos like I did. When you are so panicked, your mind goes blank, but the photo helped refresh my memory and could be easily distributed amongst those who were helping to look.
“We were separated for about 10 minutes but it felt like the longest time. When we collected him, Quinn was sobbing but safe and clung to me for the rest of the day.”