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Old Man Walks past Beggar with a Baby Everyday, Notices Child Is Always Asleep and Hardly

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An elderly man grows suspicious when he sees a beggar with a child that never cries or moves, so he decides to follow her.

I suppose it all started because Brian Pemberley was missing his grandchildren. His only son had moved from their native New Orleans all the way to Seattle and Brian missed him, his lovely wife, and his four boisterous, delightful grandchildren.

Brian’s wife of thirty years had passed away four years before, and with his son and his family gone, he was feeling very alone. That was why he had taken to walking down to the picturesque French Quarter for a coffee and a beignet every afternoon. That was where he saw the beggar for the first time.

The woman was sitting on the pavement in front of a popular bar and beside her, wrapped up in a bundle of ragged blankets was a baby about one year old. She was an olive-skinned brunette in her forties, with a hard face, and a wheedling smile that showed carious teeth.

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“Please, sir,” she whined. “I need money to buy food for my baby, sir…”

Brian didn’t like giving to beggars, but something about the tiny form of the baby slumbering next to the filthy woman moved him. He reached into his pocket and drew out his wallet. He hesitated, then put a $20 bill in the woman’s tin cup.

“Bless you, sir, bless you!” the woman cried, then she quickly took the $20 and tucked it away in her bra. As he walked down the street, Brian could hear her whining voice. “Please, miss, it’s for my baby! I don’t have money for food…”

The next day, the woman was there again, sitting against the wall, chanting the same pleas for help to feed her child. The same thing happened the following days, only her tatty clothes changed. Sometimes her sweater was cherry-red, another time acid-yellow, or a dirty purple.

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What never changed was the baby. It always lay by her side, eyes closed, the breeze stirring its soft blond curls, caressing the rosy cheeks. The baby was so still that Brian started to think it might be one of those awful reborn dolls he’d heard about.

So one day, Brian came up to the woman and gave her another $20 and bent down and caressed the sleeping baby’s cheek. It was a real child, alright! It stirred slightly at his touch and opened pale blue eyes.

The woman wasn’t pleased by Brian’s gesture. “Here now!” she screamed. “What are you doing touching my baby? Are you some pervert?” She raised her voice and started calling out to the people passing by.

“This old man is touching my baby!” she screamed. “I’m a poor woman, but no one touches my baby!”

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People were stopping and looking at Brian with hostility and one of the passersby gave him a shove. “Get out!” she shouted angrily. “Get away from that baby!”

Don’t walk away if something seems off — do something about it.
Brian walked away quickly and saw the woman reach into her filthy backpack and pull out an iPhone. A beggar with an iPhone? Brian ducked behind a colonnade and waited.

Not long after, a fancy dark blue SUV pulled up and a man jumped out. He stowed the woman’s bundles into the back while she buckled the baby into its seat. The woman’s demeanor was completely different!

There was something wrong here, Brian thought, but what could he do? Twenty years ago, he might have faced down the man and the woman, but now… Brian knew that he no longer had the strength or the stamina.

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After a long sleepless night, Brian decided he was going to the police. He walked into one of the downtown New Orleans station houses and talked to the desk sergeant about his suspicions.

“There’s something definitely wrong there. That baby never moves, and the woman never touches it!” Brian explained. “And the baby looks nothing like her at all. I just have a feeling something is wrong.”

The sergeant called a detective, Jean Riete, who listened carefully to Brian’s story. To his surprise, the detective took it very seriously indeed. “These people are professional beggars. On their own, an adult beggar makes about $30 a day, with a child, they go up to $300…

“You do the math — that can work out at around $6,000 to $9,000 a month, especially in cities like ours with high affluence of tourists. A child, especially a baby, is worth a lot of money on the streets.”

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“But…They exploit their own children?” asked Brian.

“Sometimes, but often the baby is ‘rented’ out by its parents or even stolen.” explained Detective Riete. “So let’s go take a look at this woman and her baby tomorrow morning, OK?”

The next morning, Brian walked by the woman on the way to his favorite coffee shop and watched out of the corner of his eye as Detective Riete and two uniformed policemen approached her.

“Ma’am,” the detective said. “May I see your ID please?” As the woman struggled to her feet, one of the uniform officers picked up the baby.

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He cradled it and cried, “Sir, this baby won’t wake up, I think there’s something wrong with it!”

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Detective Riete took the baby in his arms gently and said, “Cuff this woman and call an ambulance.”

Brian stepped forward. “Detective,” he asked anxiously. “Is that baby alright?”

The detective shook his head. “I don’t know, sometimes these creeps drug the children so they won’t cry.” Just then the ambulance arrived and Brian begged for permission to accompany the baby.

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At the hospital, doctors took charge of the baby, who turned out to be a boy, while Brian waited anxiously for news. The detective arrived and told Brian that the baby matched the description of a child that had disappeared from neighboring Eunice, and its parents were on their way.

The doctor came out and told Brian and the detective that the baby was fine. Apparently, the kidnappers had put sleeping pills in his formula so it would be quiet. The baby was resting and would soon be back to normal.

When the baby’s parents arrived — his name was Billy — they were overwhelmed to find their lost boy. They cried and thanked Brian and invited him to be the baby’s godfather.

Thanks to Brian, the baby was rescued and returned to his family, while the two kidnappers were destined to spend the next decade behind bars.

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What can we learn from this story?

Don’t walk away if something seems off — do something about it. Brian felt that something was odd about the beggar’s baby and ended up saving the child’s life.

Get involved — a minute of your time might save a life. Brian took the time to go to the police and saved a child from trafficking.

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