Every mother’s worst nightmare transpired for Sanctuary Point mum Kristi Kaspars, after her son, who has autism, went missing yesterday morning.
Her call out to local residents via an online community page did not go unanswered, and before too long, Zander, 7, was found, and dropped to school.
Kristi took to social media to extend her thanks to all who helped, including kind strangers and police.
“It’s a lovely feeling, knowing people care,” she said.
“Just to know the community rallies around you like that, I’m very, very grateful.
“I’ve lived here since 1988, and I’ve always found people here to be very community-spirited.
“I don’t think you’d get that in Sydney.”
On his way to school, Zander missed the bus and chased after it, but the bus driver didn’t see him, and it coasted away.
Zander kept running over the hill, too fast for Kristi to catch him with a three-year-old in tow.
She sent out an appeal to community members via Facebook, and searched the streets with her mother.
By 9.30am, when Zander hadn’t arrived at school, Kristi’s worry turned to panic.
“I was terrified by this stage, I thought, ‘surely he should be at school by now,’” she said.
“Panic had set in, so I called police.”
Five minutes later, he was found, and dropped to school.
The police officer met Zander at school, and had a chat to him about safety.
“He was fantastic with Zander,” Kristi said.
“He then let him go out and have a go on the police motorbike, which calmed him down.
“I couldn’t fault the triple 0 response.”
Sanctuary Point local Karen Defries who joined the search was heartened by the community response.
“What a community we live in,” she said.
“While I was out looking for the little boy this morning, I came across so many other people out doing the same thing.
“I am so glad this boy has been found and I feel honoured to be part of the community that just drops everything when help is needed.”