Daycare left child at West End restaurant, Golden Corral staff says

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-08 23:36:04-05

HENRICO, Va. -- A young child was left behind at a Henrico restaurant by his daycare on Thursday, according to restaurant workers.

Restaurant workers said they knew that something was wrong, when the child began to wander around the restaurant.

A representative with Happy People Child Development Center, located off North 25th Street in Church Hill, confirmed that they took the children to the Golden Corral off Gaskins Road, and even that the child was left inside the restaurant.

There was a discrepancy in the accounts of how long the child was left behind.

The restaurant workers were confident that the daycare did not return to get the child until after he wandered around, with patrons and staff asking him about his parents, for about 30 minutes. The staff had decided to contact child protective services when the daycare returned.

A representative of the daycare claimed they had not left the parking lot and the child was only alone for a couple of minutes.

"By the time we went out the double door and got the children in the van, we got to like the fifth child and noticed we had eight children," said employee Tammie Lyle, "We figured out who we didn't have so I ran back in saying I was missing a child--another waitress had the child, bringing him to the front."

"It caught us off guard, you know it was a shock--but he's one of our fastest runners, so he just blended in with the crowd and ran real quick," said Tammie Lyle, with the daycare. "But like I said, we got him before we got everyone in the van, so there was no harm done."

While many at the restaurant were glad to see the boy was okay, they said they were unhappy with how the daycare employee's demeanor.

"She was more like 'get over here what are you doing?,'not like 'oh my god, are you okay?!,' it was just 'get over here now,'" and she put his jacket on and set him outside," said Lexius Guerrero.

The director of the daycare, who chose not to go on camera, said that she will notify the child's mother of the incident.

Online documentation with the Department of Social Services indicated that there have been past violations at the daycare, which range from appropriate paperwork to minor safety violations to a van used to transport children having a rejected inspection sticker. No  complaint inspections have occurred at the daycare, according to the most recent records going back to 2010.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Social Services said that the organization is investigating. An inspector stopped by the daycare late Thursday afternoon.