School Bus Error Leaves 5-Year-Old Alone in Unknown Neighborhood

Dropping off your child aboard a school bus for the first time can be an anxiety-inducing experience. For one mother in Oklahoma, it rapidly transformed into a harrowing nightmare.

Dropped In The Wrong House

Kelly Mulholland shared a video to TikTok showing her kindergarten son walking up to a random house and ringing the doorbell. The boy was crying and asking, “Will you help me find my mommy?”

Speaking seriously to her online audience, Kelly confirmed that the bus driver had not followed procedure, explaining tearfully that they “lost my son.” She went on to explain that her boyfriend’s daughter, also only five years old, endured the same experience.

The Driver Did Not Even Notice

The kindergarteners, Kelly explained, had tags on their backpacks with the correct drop-off address. The bus driver was supposed to check these tags prior to allowing them off the bus.

The bus driver “did not even notice that they got off,” Kelly said, her voice tight and stressed.

When questioned about the incident, the bus driver was supposedly unable to advise specifics. Kelly said her information was sourced from an older boy on the bus, who said he had noticed two children of that description get off at an earlier point.

The Children Were Spotted

While Kelly was rushing back to her car to get her phone, a man stopped her and asked if she was looking for two children.

He advised that he had seen a little boy at his door and said that the children were trying to talk to him through the ring doorbell. Kelly made her way to the address, but the children were not there.

Searching Far and Wide

Neighbors joined in, searching for the children. They knocked on doors and attempted to figure out where the children were. Kelly’s boyfriend tried contacting the school, but it was after 5 p.m.; it was closed and uncontactable. 

In the late afternoon, the rush hour traffic was terrible. It was also extremely hot. Kelly was also worried, as the neighborhood she lives in is not small. 

Found At Last

Eventually, the children were located. Kelly found them about half a mile from where they had been dropped. It was also about half a mile from home.

“They literally walked at least half a mile in 105-degree heat…trying to find somebody to help them,” she stated.

@kellymulholland95 A parents worst nightmare. part 2 is up. #bluecollarmom #publicschool #busnightmare #busdriversoftiktok #missingchildren #kindergarten #whatifthiswasyourchild #ringdoorbell #appleairtag ♬ original sound – Kelly Mulholland

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The Internet Responded

The unbelievably lucky outcome was received with an outpouring of support from Kelly’s TikTok audience, many of whom expressed that they cried at the sight of her little boy crying in the ring camera footage. 

Kelly said, “I’m not sharing this to scare anybody. I think it is a cautionary tale that even if you don’t think it will happen to you, you need to teach your kids what to do if it happens.”

When one commenter said, “I just bought an air tag to put in my kids’ backpack!” Kelly replied, saying, “Same! Instantly! I never thought something like this would happen!”

Many stories have flowed into the comment section of others who have either had the same experience themselves as young children or from parents who have experienced similar with their own children.

“My mom was so furious she transferred me to a different school,” one commenter said. Another said the incident was “inexcusable,” with many others calling for the bus driver to be fired for incompetence. 

Comments About The School And The Driver

In a later video, Kelly responded to a comment about firing the bus driver, saying the “department was obviously not happy about what happened with the situation” but that she didn’t know of the outcome.

“The last thing I’m going to say,” she continued in a further video, “the school one hundred percent did their job and put them on the right bus…Please do not harbor any hard feelings or anything like that towards the school.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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