Early yesterday morning I drove past the local school and saw a lone schoolgirl running along the pavement, clearly upset.
I pulled over and spoke to her. She was running late. She’d been to a swimming club and something had happened so that she was late.
I offered to give her a lift wherever she needed to go and she accepted.
Gradually she stopped crying and I discovered she was on her way home. It was the first time she had ever done this journey on her own.
I had assumed she didn’t live far from the school but as she gave me directions to her house I realised the journey we were on was over a mile.
I was surprised that a girl of just seven or eight was expected to walk over a mile after swimming, and before school, on her own.
As we got closer to her house I realised that, whilst I think I did the right thing, she might get into trouble for accepting a lift from a stranger.
When I told my husband later in the day he told me how he’d handle the situation: hand your phone to the child and let them phone their parents and, if required, you can talk to the parents too. Wish I’d thought of that.