Dear Target,

Thank you for reuniting me with my daughter . . . my little girl.

It was a normal Sunday afternoon routine, grabbing a few last-minute items from Target. However, this time was different. Although it was December, and I knew the store would be busier and more rushed than normal, I still decided to brave going in with my two daughters (three and six years old) in tow.

After holding hands walking in from the parking lot, putting the little one in the cart, and my oldest at my side, we began our journey. We perused the Dollar Spot, waltzed past the toy aisles, and wandered through the Christmas section before finally arriving at our destinationgetting the few grocery items needed for dinner.

And then, it happened. As I was selecting some bread, my 6-year-old had independently decided she could go get the tator tots by herself. I watched as she turned the corner, knowing I was right behind her. I went the next aisle over to meet her, but she was not there. I went on to the next aisle. Not there. And the next aisle.  Still not there. And again, and again, and again. Still nowhere to be found.

I started screaming her name. Nothing. I turned around, this time with more anxiety, thinking she must have turned the wrong way, but still . . . nothing. Nothing. No response. She was gone. My child was missing. My little girl.

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My heart started racing. My body started sweating. My mind was going frantic. Sheer panic set in. I have watched too many episodes of Dateline to not assume the worst.

I was able to locate a Target employee and expressed I needed helpmy child was missing, and I could not find my little girl. Without saying a word, she immediately radioed, “CODE YELLOW! CODE YELLOW!”

Before the employee was able to even get out a description of my child, I heard through her walkie-talkie, “Front door, covered.” At that moment, I was as equally terrified as I was relievedsomeone was standing guard at the entrance of the building looking for a missing child. Someone was looking for my child. My little girl.

Within seconds of a Code Yellow being put in place, Target employees came out of the woodwork. I’ve never seen anything like it. Red shirts were everywhere. All employees were on a mission looking for a little girl with a big red bow in her hair. My little girl.

After what felt like an eternity, “I have her up front at Guest Services” came in through the walkie-talkie. The employee who originally called in the Code Yellow and who had never left my side, escorted me to my child while the store manager Melissa remained with my daughter until I was there.

Seeing the big red bow between the registers, I knew it was her. My little girl.

We ran to each other and hugged. The minute she was in my arms I started sobbing.  She was found. She was safe. She was okay. My little girl.

We held each other until I could find the strength to stand and regain my composure. The store manager stayed with us and ensured we were okay, which we were thanks to Target’s quick reaction.

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Say what you will about Target, but I’ll be forever grateful. My daughter simply turned a corner and got lost. I’m honestly not sure how, but it happened. We both learned a tough lesson while doing some grocery shopping, and I’m happy we did so while at Target. I would assume most establishments have a protocol in place for these situations, but I can’t express how quick and responsive the team of employees at Target truly were.

Knowing the Target employees were trained and ready to rapidly deploy, someone immediately standing watch at the doors, all employees desperately joining me in my search, and supporting us when we were reunited is more than I ever expected. I’m beyond impressed at how this situation was handled.

As my mind is still recovering from the panic and terror from my Code Yellow experience, my heart remains forever grateful.

Thank you, Target. For your quick response to finding a missing child. My missing child. My little girl.

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Michelle Haskell

Michelle Haskell is an all-American girl from the Sunflower State. Her writings are raw - they come from the heart and are inspired by real life events. She is married to an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast, and together they are raising two girls and a boy - three under three! Michelle documents life through a canon lens, dreams of being a songwriter, loves chips and queso, and believes in the oxford comma. Essential parts of her life include coffee and dessert for breakfast, second-hand shopping, her girlfriends, Christmas, and themed parties. Michelle’s youngest brother has a mitochondrial disease.  To learn more about this disability please visit the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. To learn more about Michelle, please visit her blog Mondays with Michelle and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.  

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