Manitoba

Brandon teens credited with caring for toddler found alone in the rain

2-year-old boy home safe after being found crying in the rain with no jacket or shoes Friday night

cole kinney friends

Cole Kinney, centre, and his friends came across a lost boy standing in the rain in Brandon on Friday. (Maylia Kinney)

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It was the kind of birthday surprise no one expected.

A group of Brandon teens celebrating a birthday came across a crying toddler who was standing in the pouring rain with no jacket or shoes Friday night.

The birthday boy's mother, Christina Kinney, got a phone call when her son Cole and his friends were coming back to her house after a quick dinner at a nearby fast-food restaurant.

The 15-year-old and his friends were scared and asking for help, she said.

"He was panicked, like, 'Mom, get in the car, come right now, we found this little boy crying. He's in his pyjamas, it's pouring, it's raining, he's got no shoes on, nothing."

Cole Kinney

Cole Kinney and his friends were celebrating his birthday when they found the child in the rain. (Maylia Kinney)

Kinney said she and her husband got in the car and went to meet the boys, who were knocking on doors on Orchard Way in an attempt to find the boy's parents. However, they were having no luck, said Kinney.

She met the boys in front of a condo building, where the group had sheltered the boy under an alcove.

"My husband and I are both educators and we're used to dealing with little kids, so I said to him, 'Buddy, is it OK if I pick you up?'

"He was just chattering and shaking, so cold, the little guy," she said, adding they wrapped the boy in a sweater to keep him warm.

The boy, described by Brandon police as about two-years-old with blond hair, looked like he had just been put to bed, said Kinney. 

The teens' door knocking got the attention of some people in the condo building and one woman called her brother-in-law over to check things out, said Kinney. Kinney approached him when he came out of the condo building with a friend. 

"I said, 'Do you two gentlemen recognize this little boy?' And one of the gentlemen goes, 'Well actually, I'm an off-duty police officer.'"

After handing the boy over to the Brandon Police Service, Kinney said everyone went home. While they later tried to get information about the child's well-being, privacy rules prevented anyone from letting them know if he was alright.

BPS confirmed Saturday afternoon that the boy had been turned over to Child and Family Services, who were able to reunite the boy with his parents Saturday morning.

"There were no concerns regarding the child after Child and Family Services and BPS spoke to the family," reads the statement from BPS. "He has returned home and the matter is concluded."

Kinney said she has no idea how the child ended up on the street but was glad there was a happy ending, and was especially proud of Cole and his pals.

"It's one of those crazy, fortuitous moments where you're bursting with pride for your son and his friends."

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