Hey Woodstock Police…Thanks For The Super Fast Help

Yesterday began just like every other day over the past 10 years or so. I was up early as usual and was hanging with my autistic son Jayden for several hours(he’s a real early riser )and went through all of the usual routines that are associated with caring for a person with numerous mental and social challenges.
I did some writing(my desk and computer are located half way between the kitchen and the great room…giving me a view of the entire main floor of the house)and read some mail while keeping my eyes open for my son.
At 7:30 he ran upstairs to hang with his mom for a few minutes and that was cool, I let him, but then at 7:45 I decided that it was time for him to get ready for school, have his bath and get his hair scrubbed down in preparation for the arriving bus at 8:10 so I called him downstairs and he came quickly as he always does. I asked him to grab a seat in the kitchen and finish off his bowl of cereal(literally…he is a cereal killer)and then he could have his morning meds. He’s pretty compliant usually, but sometimes he’s pretty cagey and will “deke” you out letting you think he actually drank his morning meds down when actually he just dumped it into his cereal bowl which then ended up in a sink. He takes an anti-psychotic to help keep him “level”.
I realized a few moments later that his clothes were in the basement laundry area so I asked Jayden to stick around the kitchen and finish his cereal and “I’ll be right back from the laundry room”. Like I’ve said before, this little guy might be disabled, but he is on the ball when he wants to be.
So there I am, folding his clothes up and suddenly I hear a noise, like something dropping, a piece of wood or something and I assumed(thinking that everything in my home is completely secured)that he dumped his cereal out or threw something upstairs.
I headed back upstairs with his clean laundry in hand and thought…hmmm, he seems awful quiet(which is totally unlike him)so I trotted over to his room and discovered…he wasn’t there. Then I thought, oh, he’s probably in the bathroom so I wandered over there and sure enough…he wasn’t there. He loves to hide. He thinks it’s a game, I think it is heart attack material. So I called his name a few times and soon realized there was no response. Usually he will say something in his own language back to me, and after years of doing this I have learned that some noises mean more than others while some sounds mean nothing at all.
After a couple of minutes of searching the house, I went back down to the basement(thinking he had gone looking for toys in the rec room)and found nothing…no Jayden anywhere. So I thought, wow, he’s doing a good job of sneaking around today, and I called his name out a few more times…and no response…again. So I decided to head back upstairs, thinking he had gone back to see his mom(he likes to hang upstairs and grab a few morning squishes from her)and on the way up there,discovered to my ultimate shock and horror…that one of the doors exiting the home had been left unlocked…obviously for nearly a week.(the last time the door was used was to move potting soil from one side of the house to the other last Thursday)
Immediately I was put into high gear.
I ran down to my 17 year olds room, pushing the door open and yelling “Jayden got out”, then I ran back out the unlocked door and did a precursory search of the property runing like a madman through the forest at the rear of the house, then back to the house.
I ran back in and upstairs, waking my partner up, instructing her to call the police.(she was sound asleep at that point and I nearly killed her with heart failure) I headed back out, up Mill st towards the ambulance station, then burned a donut, and headed back towards the TA truckstop next to the 401. He was nowhere to be seen. The local police were on the scene in moments flat and I could see numerous squad cars circling the area as I drove around. I stopped some folks on the road who immediately dropped whatever they were doing and joined in the search. I have great neighbours and I have to say that Woodstock has some of the finest people living right here amongst us all.(okay there are one or two notable exceptions to that statement!)
I stopped an elderly man on a bicycle to ask him if he had seen a young guy running presumably barefoot and in pj’s when another person drove up in a Mazda Protege and said he had seen him running towards the new hospital development. I burned another donut and headed across Sales Drive towards that developing money pit where I came across another construction worker who said he had seen him running east on Juliana towards another site. I jumped back into the car and headed towards the community complex when I spotted a man standing beside a car acting kind of perplexed. I turned in that direction and easily recognized Jayden sitting in the drivers’ seat of the car where he had locked himself in.
I pulled up and Jayden immediately realized that he was in big kaka so he covered his ears(a sign that he doesn’t want to listen and knows he’s in deep) and unlocked the car door and stepped out. I asked him to get into my car…he did and I thanked the man profusely for helping(it turns out it was the same guy that stopped me earlier)and for looking out for people in our neighbourhood.
So I think that what really matters is that a lesson has been learned and the one thing I learned yesterday was never to second guess this guy or his ability to do whatever to get whatever he wants(damned near sounds like a regular kind of child) and to make sure all of the locks are actually locked(which will require some diligence on my part after assuming for years that my doors are always locked from two sides)and that all ability to run out of the house unchecked are minimized to zero.
So, I’d like to thank the Woodstock Police for the super fast response(two minutes flat..they were super quick…almost like they were just waiting for this one)for the professionalism on the job, and for coming out full tilt to look for this little guy. I’d like to thank my neighbourhood for caring about someone like Jayden and that gives me reason to hope for his future.
And finally, I’d like to thank Jayden for my opportunity at trying out and running in the Olympics for people with no sense of direction…it was an opportunity I hope never to experience again.


  1. Chris
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Good story, I'm Glad Jayden got home safe Jim

  2. jim bender
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Me too…it was scary for the few minutes he was out…double locked all the doors, added some extra security measures…christ this is tougher than a jail….maybe we should move Gitmo into my house:)

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