WALDORF, Md. - The parents of a 5-year-old Maryland boy are speaking out after going through a frightening experience that they hope doesn't happen to anyone else.
Every day, 5-year-old Desmond Washington starts and ends his day at Global Sport Taekwondo Academy in Waldorf as part of their Before and After Program. The martial arts academy drives students to and from school in one of their marked vans.
However, Washington fell asleep in the van Tuesday. When he woke up, he was still inside the vehicle that was back outside of the Taekwondo studio with no one around.
“I tried to get out the side door. The side door wouldn't open and then I just went to the front door and then I got out," the young boy described.
After getting out of a warm van, Washington said he knocked on the doors at Global Sport Taekwondo Academy, but there was no answer.
His parents had no idea he was left alone.
“There should be some type of system for all aftercare programs [and] before-care programs where they should be checking the students to see who is there and who is getting on and off of these vans,” said Natasha Washington, Desmond’s mother.
“Our main concern is that this doesn't happen to any more kids,” said Desmond’s father, Anton. “Like my wife said, basically it sounds like it was a failure in the system.”
Desmond began knocking on windows next door to the Taekwondo school. The owner and a teacher at Discovery Lane preschool got Desmond inside, calmed him down, gave him some water and called police.
Two Charles County deputies came to help. They got Desmond a Happy Meal, contacted his parents and eventually the drove the young boy to his grandparents.
The Washingtons went back to the preschool on Wednesday to thank the women who helped care for the 5-year-old boy.
Desmond’s parents said he will not be returning to the Taekwondo school.
The manager of Global Sport Taekwondo Academy told FOX 5 that they did not know anything about this incident and police have not come to the business to speak with them.
However, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said it has made numerous attempts to contact the business on the phone and the business’ voice mail is full. Officials also said it has written a child neglect report and have passed that on to the Department of Social Services and the Department of Licensing.