*Two daycare workers in Rochester, New York have been fired after they forgot a 4-year-old girl was left inside a frigid cold daycare van for hours.
The incident occurred on January 7th at Living Waters Childcare when a driver and van monitor picked up Makyia Artis at 9:15 a.m. The child allegedly told the monitor she was sleepy and was allowed to lay down across the seats, Daily Mail reports. When the bus arrived at the daycare, the two adult supervisors forgot the child was asleep in the van after the other children exited the vehicle. Artis was left in the van for nine hours as temperatures fell to 18 degrees.
She was ultimately found by the driver at the end of the day. He reportedly gave the little girl $3 to keep quiet about what happened, but once she was home, the child told her mother about being left alone in the van on a day with heavy snowfall.
Sara Dunbar, the owner of the childcare facility, found out about the incident after Artis’ family contacted her. Dunbar reportedly confronted the driver, who apologized.
“My heart just dropped,” said Dunbar, who also apologized to Makyia’s parents.
The child’s parents informed Dunbar that Makyia was “fine” but that they may seek medical attention because her legs and feet were cold, per the report.
The van driver and monitor were fired but charges have been pressed against them. Dunbar reported the incident to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the state’s Central Registry, according to the report.
“I was so distraught and I was just so hurt. I’m like, ‘Why did you guys not follow protocols?’”
The monitor allegedly didn’t follow protocols when arriving at the daycare center and Makyia was marked absent for the day.
“We thought this child was absent. I didn’t know until I actually received a call from the parent saying her child came home saying she was on the van. So it was a really horrible situation, and I would never downplay it,” Dunbar told a local news station.
“The bus seats are leather, and windows had to have been covered in snow, where she couldn’t even see out because it snowed all day long. So she just slept balled up in a ball on a cold leather seat for nine hours,” the child’s grandmother, Brenda Powell, told WROC.