Five-year-old boy with autism slips out of his home and boards train|
HAYES, Middlesex, UK: The parents of a five-year-old autistic boy who slipped away unnoticed and boarded a train want to thank a group of teenagers who helped their son.
Ellis Jenkins was playing in the garden of his family home in Chatsworth Close, West Wickham, when he managed to unbolt the gate and find his way to Hayes station.
The youngster, who began his journey astride a small-wheeled horse, rushed along Bourne Way before arriving at the station, where he boarded a train.
Relieved mum Mandy, 36, believes Ellis must have only been out of sight for a moment when he went missing at around lunchtime on December 9.
The mother-of-three said: "We'd had an electrician round in the morning and Ellis had gone to play in the garden. The man swore he had bolted the gate, which means Ellis must have worked out how to get it open."
The family sprang into action, joined by the electrician, and a frantic search by car and on foot began.
Ellis, who is unable to speak, had been gone for almost half-an-hour when his father
Darren spotted a train at the platform and decided to check if his son was on it.
Mrs Jenkins said: "There he was, surrounded by youths.They said they had tried to talk to him and asked his name, but when they realised he couldn't answer, they raised the alarm and stopped the train."
She added: "They were very sensible. Teenagers get such a bad name these days but this really restored our faith and we want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Plenty of adults must have seen him heading off on his own but no-one said anything."
Mrs Jenkins said: "Ellis can't communicate or answer to someone calling his name so we were petrified.Plus he has no road awareness, so you can imagine what was going through our minds."
A spokesman from Southeastern trains confirmed that a member of the public had raised the alarm and the incident was monitored by CCTV cameras.
The spokesman added: "The child was safely reunited with his parents and we are delighted this was the case."
Mrs Jenkins said: "Ellis is home safe and sound and there is a big padlock on the gate."
(Source: News Shopper, December 17, 2006)