My Daughter Got Lost in the Boston Subway

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I only let go of my child’s hand in the Boston subway for TWO SECONDS (I swear) to point out a feature on a map to my husband. We turned to see a train’s doors closing and pull out.

Oh no! What line was that? Did she get on it? Was she nearby? We called her name, and no answer. We were jostled by the afternoon crowd.

Leaning & Reading on the Red Line Park Street Center Platform (Boston, MA)

Our family was vacationing from the opposite side of the country and new to subways. Our daughter, a little whirlwind masquerading as a seven-year-old moppet, absolutely loved the subway. She thought she had them all figured out and we kept a firm hand on her at all times.

Except this once, just as a train was pulling out.

Immediately we looked around, calling in more and more frantic voices as the seconds ticked by. An onlooking man asked if he could “hold my purse” while I looked for my daughter. You’re kidding me, right? I guess he thought I was distraught enough to accept his kind offer to “help.”

My husband and I looked helplessly at one another. What do two tourists do when in a strange town and their seven-year-old daughter gets on a train bound for unknown neighborhoods? We didn’t know if that train was the orange line, green line, or whatever color they had. We didn’t know if she’d stay on the train or get off at the next station.

Boston T Subway and Commuter Rail Map

We figured we could contact the police, giving them our hotel information. My husband could ride the lines and see if he spotted her in any station.

Just then we heard music up the station around a corner. Our daughter loves music. We ran.

Sure enough, there she was. We swept her up in our arms, exclaiming over her as frantic parents are prone to doing. Promises NEVER to leave mommy or daddy’s side again were faithfully given. In spite of my hyper-vigilance, it happened again a month later at a fair. I guess I needed a leash, but we found her with the help of the local police.

What are good strategies for not letting your super-active child get lost in a strange city? Have you ever had a child get lost? What happened?


Photo Credit: takomabibelot and erussell1984.


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