Cycling Straight Into Child Abuse

, , , , , , | Related | March 30, 2018

(This is before cell phones are commonplace. I’m a volunteer for a bike race that a cycling club puts on every year. The ride is a one- or two-day race that covers 202 miles and has 10,000 riders. I’m the lead coordinator for the chase cars, and usually the highest level person for whatever zone I’m in. Each zone has a stop, usually at a park, where people can rest, get food and drinks, and use restroom facilities. It’s getting late on the first day, about nine pm, right around sunset. I’m radioed asking if I am near one of the stops that is about 50 miles from the starting line. I let them know I am and they tell me there is a situation, so I head over.)

Me: *to the head stop volunteer* “Hey, what’s up?”

Volunteer: “We were starting to shut down the stop for the night, when we noticed her.”

(I look over to where there are a few volunteers with a child that looks to be no more than seven. They have a blanket wrapped around her and have given her some hot chocolate to drink.)

Me: “Hi, hun. How are you? Where are your parents?”

Child: “My mommy is at home, but this was my weekend to see my daddy. He said we were going to have a fun bike ride. Then, he got mad because everyone was passing us and he said that I was slowing him down. Then, I started to cry, because he was yelling and this wasn’t a fun bike ride, so he said he knew somewhere that I could play and have all the donuts I wanted. It was really fun here, but now it’s dark and I want to go home.”

(She looks like she’s about to start crying.)

Me: “Well, we want to get you home. Do you know your mom’s phone number so we can have her pick you up?”

(She shakes her head no.)

Me: “No worries. How about this: was your daddy wearing a big piece of paper with a number on it?”

(She nods.)

Me: “Now think really hard. Do you remember the number?”

Child: *smiling* “Yes! He was really proud of it because of how low it was. It was 465!”

Me: “Great! Do you want to listen to music in my car while I call your mom to have her pick you up?”

(She went and sat in the car and quickly fell asleep. Meanwhile, I coordinated with different people to get the police there, along with pulling the guy’s registration sheet. One of the things listed was who to contact in an emergency. It took about two hours, but we were finally able to contact the girl’s mother and get her home safely. The father had a bunch of people eager to talk to him after he crossed the finish line. He was arrested for child endangerment. I hope he enjoyed his bike ride, since it was the last one he ever did with our organization.)

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