|Samaritan Helps Boy Get Home Safely|
|By ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Apr 9, 2013, 1:51 PM|
If Viviene Forbes-Thomas' Internet repair technician had showed up on time, she might not have been there to help a 6-year-old boy from Spring, Texas, get home from school safely.
Forbes-Thomas told ABCNews.com that she was waiting at home for her AT&T repairman, who was running late, around 11 a.m. Monday. When he arrived, she went outside to let him in and noticed a little boy walking down the block.
Forbes-Thomas, 65, said Devin Patterson, 6, walked up to her driveway and asked her if there was a gas station nearby.
"He said, 'I need to go home, I'm so sick," she said.
"Where are you coming from?" Forbes-Thomas asked him.
Forbes-Thomas said Devin, who is a first grader at Klein Independent School District's Roth Elementary, told her a substitute teacher sent him home when he told her he felt sick.
"She told me to just go walk and go home," Devin told ABC Houston affiliate KTRK. "Take your backpack, and go walk."
Forbes-Thomas said she offered to drive the boy to his house and left the technician at her home. The only problem was, Devin didn't know his address or his mother's phone number, Forbes-Thomas said.
"I'm going to drive you, but I don't know where I'm going," Forbes-Thomas said she told the boy. "He couldn't tell me where he lived, but he could give me directions."
Forbes-Thomas said she told Devin she wasn't going to hurt him and offered to let him sit in the front seat of her car so he could direct her to his house.
When they arrived at where the boy said he lived, Forbes-Thomas said she wanted to make sure his parents were there. She said she rang the doorbell a few times before Devin's mother, LaToyla Houston, 37, came to the door.
"I couldn't figure out why [Forbes-Thomas] had my son at the door with her," Houston told ABCNews.com. "She told me, 'The school let your son go, and he was walking the neighborhood alone asking for help.'"
Forbes-Thomas said when she explained to Houston how she saw Devin wandering down the road alone, both mother and son started to cry.
"You need to go back to the school and find out why they let your 6-year-old child walk home unprotected and find out what was going on," Forbes-Thomas said she told Houston, before she left Devin with his mother.
"All I told the mother was, 'What you need to do, you need to educate your child," Forbes-Thomas said. "You need to let your child know your phone number in case anything should happen."
Forbes-Thomas said she lived four blocks away from the child's elementary school. If she had not driven the boy home, he would have continued to walk nearly a mile by himself before he reached his house.
Houston, meanwhile, said the school did not know her son had left school.
The Klein Independent School District released a statement saying that although the district had strict procedures regarding student supervision, they were not followed by a substitute at Roth Elementary Monday.
This substitute teacher is no longer eligible for employment in the Klein Independent School District, according to the statement. The substitute denied she ever told the student to go home, the district said.
"Our thorough investigation indicates that no other student heard the substitute make any comment of this sort," the district said in its statement.
Forbes-Thomas said she believed the boy was sent home from school, because he had his backpack with school supplies in it.
"Even when a child goes to the restroom [in school], he wouldn't bring his bag with him," she said. "That's what tells me the little boy wasn't lying."
Houston said she did not plan to send her son back to Roth Elementary. Devin did not go to school today, she said. "I don't feel safe with him being there."
Forbes-Thomas said she was glad she was there to help Devin make it home safely.
"[People] are kidnapping kids right and left in Houston," she said. "I cannot let this boy's life go down the drain. I have to take him home."
"Any car that came up to him, he would have jumped into it," Forbes-Thomas said. "He could have gotten in the wrong person's hands."