It was a happy ending for a Polk County kindergartner and his family.
Little Andre Rodriguez’s mother Andrea Rodriguez was in the parent pick-up line at Blake Academy on the first day of school Monday. But when she got to the place where she would pick up Andre, he was nowhere to be found.
“When I come to pick up my son they tell me he’s not here,” said Rodriguez.
She was terrified.
The Polk School District believes Andrea Rodriguez didn’t fill out paperwork indicating that he would be picked up every day by family. He wasn’t supposed to ride the school bus. Andre Rodriguez had been put on a school bus and dropped off miles away at the appropriate spot near Crystal Lake Middle School.
No one was there to pick up little Andre so he just started walking. He had no idea where he was.
“He walked for 20-25 minutes alone," said Rodriguez. "He crossed the street alone. He’s crying. He’s scared and I’m just looking around.”
She worked with school officials to try to figure out what happened. Family members were searching for Andre.
About that time Crystal Lake Elementary School teacher Bonnie Given was driving home and spotted Andre far from his bus drop-off point. He was near the dangerous intersection of North Crystal Lake Drive and Bartow Highway. He was walking by some railroad tracks.
"Just the look on his face, I could tell he was scared,” said Given.
She decided to go check on Andre.
"So my mommy instincts were just like something's not right."
Given had Andre get into her car and made sure he was reunited with his family.
“But I am so glad. And I thank God because he sent an angel to save my little boy,” said Andrea Rodriguez.
"I don't know if I would consider myself a hero,” said Given. “But I think we always need to be an angel and look out for each other.”
Andrea Rodriguez has filled out the proper paperwork with Blake Academy and she was there to pick him up on Tuesday and Wednesday without any problems. She hoped to meet Bonnie Given at Crystal Lake Elementary School Thursday and present her with a thank you cake.