Attending a parade is a lot of fun. It’s quite a spectacle to see such intricate floats, colorful balloons, and smiling performers marching by. Yet parades can also be rather intimidating. With so many people gathered in one place, it’s easy to get lost—especially when you’re only a few feet tall.
On November 25th 2017, 5-year-old New Zealand resident, Charlotte Hodgkinson took part in New Plymouth’s parade. She and her 8-year-old sister, Faith, were excited to be standing on the float for Williams Dance Hall.
Yet, near the end of the parade, Charlotte got separated from the rest of her group. Instead of panicking, she ventured more than a kilometer to Devon Street where she had last seen her parents, Marian and Alastair.
Charlotte carefully made her way through the crowd of hundreds of people, but when she got to Devon Street, her parents were nowhere to be found. She took a seat, thinking about what to do next. Then a little girl came by and offered her a red lollipop.
“I thought I would have to have a new family and a new mum,” she told Stuff.
What she didn’t know was that the police had already been informed of her disappearance by her sister Faith.
“I was super worried, I was shouting in the building,” the sister said. “I was really upset.”
Officer Jonno Robinson soon arrived and reunited Charlotte with Marian, who had only just been informed that her daughter went missing.
“It was literally across the road from where I was, so it worked out to be a good thing,” she said. “I think she is so brave. Her initiative was amazing, to go back to where she knew we were and what direction it was. She used her common sense, and for a 5-year-old it was good.”
Charlotte was overjoyed to be back with her family. She showed her appreciation for the police by making them a big colorful card and delivering it to the station. She received a letter from Robinson soon after, which only made her even happier.
“Thank you so much for making us the card, it means a lot to me as a police officer,” the officer wrote. “I have left it in the watch house so all of the police staff can have a read and see how amazing it is.”
Charlotte’s appreciation for police officers didn’t come from nowhere, though. Her family was close friends with Constable Lee Rose, who had served the police for many years. This year, Rose died of cancer—but Charlotte will never forget all of the hard work he did and has gained a lifelong appreciation for law enforcement.
What a sweet girl! She deserves her own parade.