In an ordeal no parent would want their child to experience, a 4-year-old girl in Rochester, New York, recently revealed to her mother that her daycare van driver had forgotten her, leaving her stranded alone in a freezing van for nine hours.
Jasmine Alyce of the Atlanta Black Star reported, “The relatives of 4-year-old Makyia Artis are infuriated and exploring seeking financial retribution after learning that she ended up spending a full school day in the van, with temperatures reaching as low as 18 degrees.”
Two Daycare Employees Fired After Leaving Four-Year-Old Makyia Artis In Freezing Van https://t.co/fKDjuT8uju
— Black Enterprise (@blackenterprise) January 15, 2022
According to Alyce, “Artis, who is all right after the ordeal, boarded the Living Waters Child Care bus van at 9:15 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 7. She reportedly told the monitor on the van that she was tired and was allowed to lie across the seat during the ride to the child care center. The Rochester-based daycare’s employees failed to wake Artis once the bus arrived and didn’t check to make sure all students had exited.”
It wasn’t until the end of the school day when the bus driver returned to the van that the child was discovered alone and cold, wanting to go home.
Although the van driver was horrified by their mistake and drove the child to her house, the daycare didn’t immediately reach out to the child’s parents to tell them what had happened.
“Makyia’s family allegedly didn’t learn of the incident until she told them the story herself after she arrived home almost an hour late, and her mother noticed a change in her after-school routine,” Alyce reported.
“Had my granddaughter not told my daughter what happened, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Makyia’s grandmother Brenda Powell told local reporters. “We wouldn’t have known. They wouldn’t have told us anything about it.”
Powell added that the unidentified driver even attempted to bribe the child to keep her quiet, giving her $3 and telling her not to tell her mother about the incident.
“The driver supposedly said don’t tell mommy that you were left on the bus all day,” Powell recounted.
In an interview with the press, Alyce said that “Sara Dunbar, the owner of Living Waters Child Care, confirmed that Artis was left in the van and that both employees involved were fired immediately.”
“We thought this child was absent,” Dunbar said. “I didn’t know until I actually received a call from the parent saying her child came home saying she was in the van. So, it was a really horrible situation, and I would never downplay it.”
Dunbar added that while the driver was fired, she doesn’t think he was trying to keep Makyia from telling her mother what had happened to her.
“In the process of transporting her home,” Dunbar said, “The driver — because he does have a compassionate heart — he stopped to get her something to eat, and he took her home. He did give her $3, but it wasn’t a bribe.”
As the story continues to unfold, Alyce reported that “Artis’ family has stated that they plan to sue the daycare center, and the Rochester Police Department is reportedly ‘working to determine if criminal charges can be filed in the case.’”