The “Worst Place on Earth” To Lose Track of a Baby?

Readers — This is a non-story about a mom who got her baby’s stroller onto the D.C. metro but then the doors closed before she could get on.

Ritual infant sacrifice time?

Surprisingly, no. Instead, the strangers gathered round the (sleeping) baby, alerted the authorities and got the stroller off at the next stop, where yet more people protected the tyke. All of which prompted one bystander to say that she felt terrible for the mom because this was,  clearly, “the worst place in the world to lose a baby.”

Worst? Where a crowd of people took care of the child, alerted the mom and made sure everything was fine?

Do you think maybe we can quit thinking of every surprising or untoward situation involving kids as ALMOST a disaster, or a disaster NARROWLY THWARTED, or something that was SOMEHOW terrible, please?

Thanks! — Lenore

54 Responses

  1. We ride the subway all the time – our favorite form of transportation (we’re in Boston). We had this very conversation with our kids the other day – what would you do if you got on the train, but the door closed before Mom or Dad got on? They both promptly answered: “Get off the train at the next stop and wait on the platform for you.” They weren’t alarmed by the prospect, they were just matter of fact.

    This baby was never in some terrible danger. And anyone who tries to make this ‘Mom’s fault’ has clearly never tried to wrestle strollers on and off crowded subway trains.

  2. I have been on the DC metro many times and the am still surprised how FINAL the door shutting system is. There is no margin for error like there is in NY or Chicago or Paris of Philly or any other metro I’ve been on. When the doors shut that is just it. And the conductors don’t/can’t do a thing about it. Terrible system.

    That said. YAY people! People are good. People are kind.

    That said, the poor woman will be brought up on endangerment charges in 3…2…1…

  3. Runion, a frequent Metro rider since the system opened in 1976, said, “This should not have happened. How can you slam a train door on this baby and mother? It’s horrendous.”

    Yet with my experience with subways and such there is enough time for a mother and baby to board the train. Unless the people getting on and off are too rude to be concerned with the mother and child trying to board.

    Perhaps this is me on my high horse but this seems like yet another time where society has failed to have concern at the correct time. After all, had they helped the mom or at least got out of her way she would have made it on that train. So less how could you slam a train door on a mother and child and more why did you stand by and let it happen.😦

  4. Happy it turned out safely. I’m sure I would’ve been frantic, but it proves that basically, people are good! Read the comments to the article. Sickening – several calling for child protective services to be called in. I hate hate hate how we have made parenthood so frightening. No wonder honest, good parents helicopter with the guilt police everywhere.

  5. Admittedly, this is another point for babywearing as far as I’m concerned – as if having to lug strollers up and down stairs hadn’t already convinced me🙂

    But with that said, I have no idea WTF some people are smoking. I can think of DOZENS of worse places to lose a baby than a safe train where everybody apparently knows the travel rule – if the child gets misplaced from the grown-up, the child gets off at the NEXT STOP and WAITS.

    For example, you could lose your child at the edge of a large cliff. One minute you’re looking, the next minute your child is a pancake! You could lose your baby in a crowded pool. Trampled underwater, not a pretty death. You could lose your baby inside the alligator pit at the zoo. That would probably be your fault, sure, but that’s no consolation to the poor baby! You could lose your baby inside your house, and have to call the cops, and eventually find them giggling from behind a bookcase you SWORE was right up against the wall and no space to hide behind. That would just be embarrassing all around. You could lose your baby inside a wall of text. You could lose your baby at the yearly pedophile/serial killer meet-and-greet. I don’t know, it could happen. Maybe? You could lose your baby when your car breaks down on the freeway and while you’ve hopped out to look at the engine, your baby has learned to manipulate the car seat buckles. Go, kid, go! Go play in traffic! You could put your baby safely down on top of a fire ant nest and not notice for three minutes.

    LOTS of worse places to lose your baby, and I’m just getting started!

    The train? Meh, unless the child actually is lost on the tracks, I’m not too worried. (And for that matter, the baby wasn’t ever lost. The mother knew where he was most of the time (on the train) and concerned bystanders knew where he was the rest of the time (with them).

  6. I’m sure I would’ve been frantic, but it proves that basically, people are good!

    Of course you would have been frantic🙂 Just about anybody would have trouble remaining calm when this happens. But these stories usually turn out all right, no matter who panics.

  7. What a lovely story of the kindness and good will of the general population. I mean, after you get past the nutcase paranoids.

    Most people are good. Most people really do mean well. Hello, media? HELLO? ;o)

  8. When my son was 3 yrs old we took public transport to visit my sister who lived a 12 hour drive away.

    Part of the journey involved crossing London in rush hour each of us with a back pack.

    Passers-by could not have been kinder or more helpful. People stopped to let us on the underground trains, chatted to us as we rode the escalators and made room for us to sit down. When waiting for a train, a homeless person begging did not approach us.

    We all have so much good collectively and sometimes that’s forgotten.

  9. A few of the commentors at the Post seemed outraged that a mother would take their child and stroller on the subway at rush hour. Is that a sacred time meant only for the real working people? Sheesh.

    What a great place this could be if we taught our kids that most people are good, not evil.

  10. Yes, seems to me a very positive story, yet it has to be couched in terms of shock horror. I mean, what it everyone in the carriage had been a paedophile? What it it hadn’t occured to anyone to get the baby off at the next stop and wait for the mum?

    I think Jo’s right that it the passengers might have been helpful earlier and avoided this.

  11. Actually, yes, it really is the WORST place to lose a child — the child is too young to take care of him/herself in any way, nobody who knows the child is with him, the parent is separated from the child for quite a while without any way to know what’s going on or physically catch up to the child.

    It’s also the worst likely outcome: that the parent worries for a time, while a bunch of strangers step up and make sure the child is safe.

    To have a worse outcome would require an extremely improbable set of coincidences involving the car being filled with crazed sociopaths who converged just at the moment of the accident, and not a single normal person who says “holy cow, that baby just got separated from its mother, I’d better call the operator.” Too improbabe to be really worth considering.

    So perhaps there is some merit to trumpeting this as the “worst” place this could happen, and it still turned out fine.

  12. I don’t care how free range you are – that would have to be a terrifying experience. But, no, it’s not the worst place in the world to lose your baby, and more likely than not things will turn out okay, but of course it’s got to be terrifying until you’ve met up with the baby again. It is hard to imagine how this happened though. For the stroller to be inside, wouldn’t her hands have had to be on it pushing it in when the doors closed? Then wouldn’t they have closed on her body and then re-opened at the impact? Did she push the stroller all the way in and let go and leave the baby in there before trying to step in herself? It just seems weird. I could see losing my 4 or 6 year old in that way – that’s why I make them hold my hands when we get on and off the train – so I can yank them if need be – because metro doors do shut very suddenly and with no room for a re-do – and I could see one of them running on just ahead of me and then – wham. But I don’t see how it happens with a stroller, which must actually be pushed in by hand.

  13. “The doors don’t just bounce back open, so customers have to heed the warnings that the doors are closing,” he said.

    But then what DOES happen when your hand is in the doors? They just get crushed? I guess it started closing on her hands and instead of plunging forward she drew them back? I’m just curious how this happened, since a stroller must be pushed on and presumably the mother would be attached to the stroller when the doors closed.

  14. There’s frantic, and then there’s

  15. I can see it happening with a stroller… If the people on the train don’t get out of the way fast enough. The mom would push the stroller on and then have her arms between the door as it closes.

    In that city, the train doors don’t bounce back open if there is something between them. She would have had to choose between being dragged by the arm along with the train, and letting go. Terrible choice.

    I would think with that kind of “zero room for error” system there would be alarms that the doors were going to close, and I would LIKE to think that I would just wait for the next train. But honestly, who hasn’t been in a rush and thought “its ok, I’ll make it” and pushed onto a train as the doors begin to close?

    Thank goodness, people ARE generally good!

  16. There are lots of ways to be separated form a stroller on the subway. You just need to get your coat caught as you step on, step back to untangle; or have mad crowds pushing around you; loose your balance for a brief second; try putting your stroller into an awkward space that doesn’t have enough room for you to stand at the handle…

    Highly unlikely you’ll get left on the platform at the same time, and thankfully if that rare occurrence does happen, it seems we actually live in a civil society! Imagine!

  17. Sky, there is a small commuter train in my city, not nearly the size of the DC Metro. But, yes, that is exactly what happens- you get crushed, because I’ve done it before. I tried to squeeze onto the train at the last second just as the doors were closing, thinking they were like elevator doors- Half my torso and my arm were left outside the train, the doors closed literally ON me, and I had to use force to yank myself back inside. I can see how a mom and stroller could get separated.

  18. Thanks goodness that the train wasn’t filled with all those pedophiles who ride trains for hours just hoping that a mother will get separated from her stroller. In this day and age.

    (sarcasm intended)

  19. In answer to the question “what happens if the door shuts on you” : it stays shut. Your hand breaks or your bag stays sticking out of the car, unless someone gets the attention of the driver.

    This is not quite as drastic as it seems- there are MULTIPLE announcements that the doors are closing, and they close pretty slowly. People just don’t respect that and try to hold them open.

    And I will say that a stroller at rush hour, while understandable and you have the right to be there, etc, is not a great plan (esp. if it’s one of the HUMONGOUS-we-could-climb-a-mountain-today stollers). Trains in dc at rush hour tend to be packed, standing room only affairs. If you’re going to use a stroller pretty please try and use one that is city appropriate. Something light and small! Esp. if your child is a toddler who CAN walk but will simply tire out. It will make your life easier too!

  20. Sometimes it is so difficult to remember that most people in the world are good. We are constantly getting fear crammed down our throats.

    As an almost mother – my baby is due early January – I have quit reading many blogs and books due to the insane amount of fear they preach. Thank you for this dose of sanity!

  21. I think it’s absolutely tremendous that people took care of the baby and the mom like that. Unsurprising, and kind of beautiful.

    That said, I would have to say that having my sleeping child roar away on a train I can’t board would probably qualify as “the worst possible place to lose a baby” in my mind.

  22. This almost happened to me the other day! I commute to work daily on the DC Metro with my 4-year-old who goes to daycare near my office, and sometimes we use an umbrella stroller. There are many times in the rush hour crowds that it is very difficult to maneuver onto the train. Often the doors start to close before everybody can get OFF.

    I was commuting home alone a few years ago, and a mother hustled her two children onto the train (maybe 7 & 8), then got stuck on the platform. I was on the train and able to tell the panicked mother thru the window, “Go one stop!” then hustled her kids off the train at the next stop, we waited for the mother on the next train, and I got the two kids back onto the train with her when she got there. It worked well, so maybe this should be the way the drill should work. I’m sure it happens daily!

  23. A few years ago, I was on the train to the airport in Atlanta, and somehow a little boy (maybe 5 or 6) got on the train and the doors closed between him and his mother and grandmother. They were frantic of course, so I waved to them, sat the terrified boy down with me, and got off with him at the next stop. All was well. Oddly though, we didn’t make the news.😉

    I’m sure (especially now that I’m a mother myself) that would be terrifying for any parent. Is it the “worst place in the world” for that to happen? Probably not, but I think that was just hyperbole, and that we’re overanalyzing it a bit. We all do it, whether it’s “the funniest thing I’ve ever heard” or “I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

  24. @Uly: The one about losing track of your kid at home happened to a friend of mine. She didn’t call the cops, because the kid was about 8 months old and there was no way he could have reached any door handle. He was there, and then he wasn’t. She spent (no joke) HALF AN HOUR looking for the kid, calling him, singing to him…
    He was between the couch and the wall, taking a nap!

  25. Lola, happened to me too, also without calling the cops.

    I looked EVERYWHERE, including out the window. Finally resorted to “Honey, I’m not mad, you won’t get a time-out, but you HAVE to come out NOW.”

  26. @Uly and Lola

    Happened to me too. More than once. One time, right after we moved to Michigan, it was my 11 year old. She just vanished. I went up the block to the home of a couple new friends she’d made, looked in the yard, looked in the car… she was on the top bunk, under all the covers, asleep.

    Most recently, my grandson, who is 4, totally vanished. I looked and called and all that good stuff for about half an hour. Yard, out front, in the car. He has a captain’s bed. He was curled up in one of the drawers trying really hard not to giggle hard enough to be found. Turkey.

  27. While I agree that it would have been nicer for the people to help her get on in time, I think it’s frustrating that the media went in the direction of “HORRIBLE THINGS (almost) HAPPENED” instead of “Look how wonderful these people are!” But hey. Who wants to read GOOD news? *eyeroll*

  28. I think any place on the planet that I am separated from my kid like that would have to FEEL like the “worst possible place.” that is, of course, completely not founded on any actual danger, merely dread and that awful feeling of worry that you know would hit any of us.

  29. Maybe they didn’t really mean “worst,” but let’s be real – no mother would be calm and cool in this situation. It’s not so much that someone would do something to the child, but that the mom would not know where exactly to catch up with the child, at least not for a while.

    Why don’t people let moms with young kids get on first, I’d like to know? There can’t be that many of them.

    I don’t see this as a “free range” situation since the baby wasn’t “free” in any way. But yes, it does remind the nay-sayers that most people are good (if sometimes unaware of others).

  30. I’m amazed and sickened at the comments on the original news article. I think only about two people actually said anything with any sense. All the others argued about whose “fault” it was. Fault? But nothing actually happened! Why does blame need to be laid when there was no negative outcome for anyone involved, whatsoever?

    It came down to being the mom’s fault (saying she should have never procreated, or should have the child taken away, or that she’s simply an idiot) or Metro’s fault (calling for major overhauls to the system, and even the firing of individuals).

    What is wrong with people that they’d spend time bickering over who to blame over a non-event, rather than some issue–ANY issue–that actually matters?!?

  31. I can’t believe people were saying CPS should be brought in. It’s not as if she pushed the stroller onto the train and then ran away shouting “I’m free! I’m free!” Granted, maybe the train at rush hour wasn’t the best place for a stroller, but sometimes you end up traveling at a less than optimal time despite the best-laid plans.

    I’m not surprised the other passengers took care of the baby, either. I was just sitting in a fast-food restaurant about an hour ago when a woman at another table got up and went to ask for something from a cashier, leaving her 18-month-old in the high chair. I kept eating, but I had one eye on him, ready to intervene if he started trying to escape (surprisingly, he didn’t–my daughter at the same age would have been out of there like a spider monkey). I didn’t think she was an awful mother for leaving him for a couple of minutes, just a mother trying to manage on her own with a small child, much like the woman in the metro story.

  32. Maybe they didn’t really mean “worst,” but let’s be real – no mother would be calm and cool in this situation.

    False. I wouldn’t have panicked. It serves no purpose. My son at age 3 was lost at the zoo – we were there with my aunt and uncle and their children, plus other nieces and nephews and he simply got separated.

    My baby aunt PANICKED. About to sit on the ground bawl her eyes out. Me, I went around the immediate area, then where we’d been, and then I contacted a security officer, who was able to tell me that my son had gone to a staff member, said he was lost, and they took him to the security office.

    Panicking does NO GOOD. And I was pretty proud of my son.🙂

    We had a similar train incident here in PDX. http://www.kptv.com/news/21679064/detail.html

    Again, a kind person stayed with the child until the father could return. (the train driver, for not responding to the intercom calls, was fired. Union claims the intercom wasn’t working…talk about who to blame!)

  33. Also have to agree that some of the comments blaming the mother are scary. While I have NEVER tried to navigate the DC subway system or any other subway system, either with a child or by myself, I cannot believe that people are actually saying the mother is to blame.

  34. I can relate. Lenore knows the story.

    We live in the boonies, well within the woods, but still about 150 yards from a busy high-speed highway, and I had the 2 kids outside, aged 3½ and 1½. I pay decent attention & was right there yet the 1½ year-old ended up wandering down the path in the direction of the busy road, rather than going the other way which would’ve taken him into the woods at large, and ended up actually being on the highway. Again, this is actually a somewhat busy highway where cars go 60mph all the time (it’s the speed limit), it’s not like he was in the street at a “residental” place like a subdivision etc.

    Luckily my wife found him, and someone was there stating that the sheriff had been called because no one was there & they didn’t know whose child it was. However the sheriff never showed up & nothing ever came of it, nor did the person lecture hard either as I understand it.

    If something bad would’ve happened naturally I felt awful, but nothing did, we’ve moved on, I still let him free-range (but I’m a bit more vigilant that he doesn’t leave the yard at his current age), no CPS involvement happened–and all is well.

    LRH

  35. I hate how the media (worldwide) do this. This is a good news story. Not a scary, bad news story. And yet they still tell the story in a way to engender fear into hapless parents. Stupid, tabloid mentality.

  36. That’s a BEAUTIFUL story! My son once got on an elevator at Macy’s, and I couldn’t get in the door fast enough…fortunately, a woman who was in the (glass) elevator motioned to me, and brought him back down the escalator to me. At age 2, he learned a valuable lesson about staying with Mom. As a baby, THIS child will learn about the kindness of strangers when s/he hears it from Mom. If they bring Mom up on charges, I hope the protests sound across the country.

  37. After a little boy got separated from his dad after the light rail doors closed and he was stranded at the station I became less afraid of getting separated from my daughter that way. I learned how Trimet operators are suppose to handle the situation, I was reminded to call the police if the Trimet operator doesn’t answer the intercom for some reason (because while she probably won’t be abducted I’d rather not risk her deciding to try and walk home by herself at 4 since she’s still forgetful about the traffic rules), I’ve also learned to board the Max (lightrail) in the car where the driver is located so I don’t have to worry about the intercom (which if we’re running to board a Max that’s leaving doesn’t always happen), and my faith in humanity has been reinforced so that I can hope someone will stay with her (which may not happen but based on continuing evidence most likely will).

  38. It is fathomable that a single individual (1 in 100,000? 1 in a million?) would steal a baby in a carriage separated from its mom. It is UNfathomable that a crowd of random observers would allow that to happen. As a society we are very protective of children and helpful to moms of infants.

  39. This almost happened to me with our three year old, while on vacation in Japan! Yikes!

  40. During a major city wide celebration, while I was on my mobility scooter with my daughters, my son wanted to take the stairs down to the rapid transit. He was told to “wait till I get there” before boarding the train. He yelled up to me while I waiting in the line for the elevator to take me down and I answered him. Yelled a second time, stating that I was stuck above. Then the doors opened and I was able to get on the elevator.

    That’s when I heard my name over the intercom with one of those snide ass comments about meeting my party immediately.

    So I did my three point turn at the platform and went looking for my son, who was standing in the middle of three security guards there looking very concerned and had the hold of a phone.

    “You know you should have kept him with you.”

    “He’s seven and he wanted to go down by himself. What was I supposed to do? Use the stairs?”

    I got given the “what if” lecture and I then told off the security – that if it hadn’t been for a three car wait for the elevator, nothing would have happened and that, although I appreciate their concern, they infringed on parental judgment by detaining him. I collected my son and lined up to catch the train.

    Now, on the one hand, they annoyed me, but on the other, if we had been tourists, and “mom” was not in a mobility scooter, then perhaps what they did was correct. But we were neither was true. The incident, however, did scar my middle child. She refused to take the train and would have seething fits about loosing me. Even after explaining what to do, she still panics. I wish I knew what to do to calm her, but at least we no longer live near there.

  41. I witnessed an even more horrifying metro event recently, though one with a happy ending and also proof that random strangers will protect your kids.
    I was on the Paris metro at a crowded hour with standing-only room. A young family with a baby in a stroller and a 3 year old tried to exit with the rush of people. I don’t know what happened, but the 3 year old fell or was pushed by accident into the gap between the train and the platform. The mother and all the passengers in the car started screaming simultaneously. Two men leapt forward and pulled the kid back up. Someone pulled the emergency cord and the train didn’t leave until the driver came back to verify that everyone was okay.
    It was the kind of accident that every urban mother has nightmares about, but it was comforting to see that even random strangers have no desire to see a 3 year old crushed to death and will leap into action.

  42. The “loosing my kid on a train when the doors closed” is one of my lifelong recurring nightmares, Right alongside one of “my kids drowning and I can’t reach them” and “loosing my kids in a crowd.”

    However I realize this is NOT reality. I let my kids wander off in crowds when appropriate, I even allow myself to loose visual contact now and then. I have ridden mass transit many times in the Chicago area with my kids who did NOT know the train system with the understanding that if they get separated, they get off at the next stop and wait for me.

    I even let my kids go swimming.

    They are now 12 and 15 and riding city buses on their own, swimming with friends and at scout camp, going to wander shops downtown with money they earned on their own.

    The child in the story was surrounded by a concerned group of people who were likely raised free range and thus KNEW how to make common sense decisions.

  43. Some examples of worse places to lose track of a baby:

    – Grand Canyon
    – Discount Lion Safari
    – Demolition Derby
    – Beach
    – Sausage factory
    – Breakdance party
    – NAMBLA convention

  44. sorry read some of the comments.

    I took my (then) 4 yr old, 1 yr old, double stroller and 12 yr old brother on the subway in Chicago to go downtown. trip out, no problems, wheeled stroller right onto the train as it wasnt crowded.

    trip home was during rush hour. I had to fold the stroller up and carry an infant while herding a 4yr old AND a distractablr 12yr old onto the train. I let 3 full trains go by before i tried to board with the crew. divide and conquer. 12 yr old and 4yr old were attached with instructions for 12 yr old to “keep both of you with me.”

    I had baby in one arm, backpack on back adn pushed folded stroller in front of me following the older kids.

    as soon as the door opened I pushed them onto the train but had trouble getting myself and stroller on board. an older gentleman started YELLING at the other passengers while he grabbed the stroller and pushed them out of the way with it so I could get all of me on the train.

    He then almost physically booted 2 teenagers taking up 3 seats out of the way so the kids and I could sit. He asked how far we were going (end of the line) and if I wanted him to help me get all of us off the train at the end.

    I thanked him profusely and knowing the station we were leaving the train at politely declined his offer.

    There ARE good people out there. this IS a moms worst nightmare. but all the right things happened, Mom did nothing WRONG, it was an accident. BUT ALL THE RIGHT THINGS HAPPENED!

    I suspect that situations such as this DO happen a lot more often than anyone reports.

  45. Even worse places:

    Refugee camp in Sudan
    Refugee camp in Thailand
    Anywhere in Port au Prince
    Anywhere in Mogadishu
    Mecca during the Hajj

    I imagine “worst place in the world” was meant to be something of a hyperbole, really meaning “bad situation that would scare most of us.” If it was meant literally, though, it’s another example of how comfortable westerners have lost perspective on how bad life can really get and what dangers are really out there.

  46. I don’t know if Mecca during the Hajj would be a particularly bad place.

    Crowded, no doubt, but no drunks and not much a cholera risk either, unlike Port au Prince.

  47. […] Lenore at Free-Range Kids, the worst place to lose a baby: Readers — This is a non-story about a mom who got her baby’s stroller onto the D.C. metro but […]

  48. Sheesh. Must be a boring world when stuff like this is newsworthy.
    While I know it must be scary for the mother, and I don’t think I’d be able to stay calm if it happened to my (not yet existing) child, on the whole I trust people to be basically good and do the right thing. What scares me way more is the idea of losing my mentally disabled brother – people know a little kid needs help, but would they realized this slightly odd-looking teenager needs help?

  49. Uly, people frequently get crushed to death in a mad rush at the Great Mosque during the high point of the Hajj. It wouldn’t be so bad during the entire season, I’m sure, but that’s what I had in mind.

  50. This sounds like the DC I know. Seriously, every time something mildly bad happens to me and I’m on public trans the people of DC have rallied around me and helped me get where I’m going, calm me down or help me figure out if I need a doctor. That being said, if you are going to take your child on the metro in a stroller, the smaller the stroller the better. Every time I see a family get on the train with one of those SUV strollers, I picture this happening. Not to mention how much real estate gets taken up by the things and how hard it is for people to maneuver around them and to maneuver them. God forbid you end up in the car with two strollers and a wheelchair, you’ll never make it out alive and feel profoundly bad for the handicapped person who is inevitably getting a dirty look from the mother who wants that space for the stroller.

  51. Do they? I had no idea! That’s pretty terrible.

  52. >Yet with my experience with subways and such there is enough time for a mother and baby to board the train.

    Depends on the driver and the time of day. Sometimes, there is NOT. I got the doors shut on my stroller and me once. Banged up the stroller and made a long laceration in my leg. I COULD NOT get on any faster. I was literally pressing the legs of people in front of me already.

    I gave the official F-you to the DC metro system after that. If I have a baby, I drive. The drivers are horrendous. The fares are outrageous. I have NEVER experienced the like on ANY public transportation system, and I’ve ridden in many major cities in the US and Europe, and one in South America.

  53. Oh, and at the first warning of the doors closing, I tried to go forward. At the second, I tried to get back. As they clothes, I frantically tried to jerk away. I was stuck in a crush of people and COULD NOT MOVE. The DC metro is AWFUL!

  54. Nice to hear that folks in my hometown handled a rather minor crisis responsibly. And yeah the DC metro isn’t the most stroller friendly transit system- earlier this year I was traveling with a group of people for a fun earl and to save money we decided to pack everything in our carry ons. So it was 4 adults, one baby, 3-4 carry on sized duffel bags and a stroller and we managed out okay but it wasn’t my idea of a fun time. (and then we had to race across the very busy Atlanta airport with all our stuff during a 40 minute layover. also not a fun but not impossible)

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