Many people who helped the actors moved them, either to walk to the police station, or to look for a parent in a nearby store. But, in general, experts say it's better to leave the child where he or she is, and call the authorities or 911. "Don't take the child somewhere else," Allen said. "Keep the child in the immediate area. Clearly, if there are those who are searching for her, they're going to return to where she was."
During the course of the two-day experiment, most of the strangers who stopped for the kids were women. "I think men are more likely to be less than willing to get involved, put themselves on the line," Allen said. "I think there is an element of fear: 'If I get involved in this, am I going to be accused of something.'"
But still, some men did intervene, such as David Paris, who maintained his distance from the child actor and called 911 to alert authorities.
Allen suggested talking to your our kids about talking to strangers, explaining that it's a good thing to ask strangers for help sometimes, especially if the child is lost.
Some people showed amazing compassion. One man, Gino Jimenez, was emotionally involved from the moment he spotted Alexis.
"You alright sweetie … what's a matter?" Jimenez asked.
"I just lost my mom," Alexis said. "Then I wasn't paying attention and then she walked away."
"Oh, my God," he said, visibly distraught over little Alexis.
"You're a beautiful little girl, God bless you," he said.
Jimenez enlisted the help of another woman passing by, and told her about the situation. Clearly, Jimenez wasn't going anywhere. Finally, ABC News asked Alexis' mother to come out from the nearby restaurant where she had been watching the scene unfold on a surveillance camera.
Alexis' mother walked over and hugged her daughter.
Jimenez was furious, asking her where she had been.
"I had to go to the bathroom," Alexis' mother responded.
"And you left her unattended?" he said. "You've been gone for a while."
At that moment, ABC News correspondent John Quinones came over and told Jimenez that he had been part of an ethical dilemma experiment about lost children. Jimenez was relieved to hear that the child wasn't really lost.
"Well, it affects me because I have kids," Jimenez said. "And I read about all the things that are happening to kids today. When I see a little girl like that it just breaks my heart; it just tears me up."
More than good Samaritans, some people are true guardian angels, acting as if the lost child was their very own.
Take grandmother Thea Pallermo, who helped Robert. "I'm not a hero," she said. "I'm just a mother who wants to make sure that the kids are safe. That's all."