(12/12/2000) Once again, a fictional brush with tragedy is used to draw attention to a general warning about child safety in public places. Unfortunately, there's no evidence the reported events ever happened, it's actually a 20-year-old urban legend, and it practically ignores the best way to protect your kids.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This info came from an Arlington Ploice Officer. Take a look!
Even if you do not have little kids pass this one on to everyone you can think of. You never know who you might save by sending this e-mail. Please take the time and forward this to any friend who has children, grandchildren, or anyone that knows children. THANKS!
I wanted to share something that happened while shopping at Sam's Club. A mother was leaning over looking for meat and turned around to find her 4 year-old daughter was gone, she started calling her daughter with no luck. We asked a man who worked at Sam's to announce it over the loud speaker for Katie. He did, and, let me say, he immediately walked right past me when I asked and went to a pole where there was a phone. He made an announcement for all the doors and gates to be locked a codesomething (In K-Mart, and some other stores, this is called a Code ADAM (See note below), so they locked all the doors at once. This took all of 3 minutes after the man was asked to do this. They found the little girl 5 minutes later in a bathroom stall. Her head was half shaved, and she was dressed in her underwear with a bag of clothes, a razor, and wig sitting on the floor beside her to make her look different. Whoever this person was, took the little girl, brought her into the bathroom, shaved half her head, undressed her in a matter of less than 10 minutes.
This makes me shake to no end. Please keep a close eye on your kids when in big places where it's easy for you to get separated. It only took a few minutes to do all of this-another 5 minutes and she would have been out the door...I am still in shock some sick person could do this, let alone in a matter of minutes. The days are over when our little ones could run rampant all over the place and nothing worse would happen to them. The little girl is fine. Thank God for fast workers who didn't take any chances.
Code ADAM is named after the son of John Walsh of the TV show America's Most Wanted. ADAM WALSH was abducted from the toy section of a store in Florida and murdered.
BE SURE TO FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE SO THEY KNOW JUST HOW SICK PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE!
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This one has all the makings of an urban legend: it's not dated, it happened in a high-profile company's store, it supposedly comes from a reliable source, a terrible crime was narrowly thwarted, it could happen to you, and you should warn everyone you know.
Stories of narrowly averted child abductions have actually been around for over 20 years, with many variations putting it in different cities and other store chains.
Somebody, either trying to be helpful or just trying to increase the warning's credibility, added the information about Code Adam to the message. Unfortunately, the information is sketchy. Code Adam is a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that has been spear-headed by Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores nationwide. The program is, indeed, named for the abducted and murdered son of John Walsh.
Instead of spreading paranoia and questionable anecdotes, spread the facts about Code Adam and the NCMEC. Make some real progress by encouraging local merchants who don't already participate in Code Adam to do so, and encourage "everyone you know" to do the same with their local businesses. Break this Chain!
Category:For the Kids References: Code Adam (NCMEC), About.com