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Security guard helps 2-year-old boy found walking alone on West Side

2-year-old found wandering in South Austin
2-year-old found wandering in South Austin 02:41

CHICAGO (CBS) --  The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating after a toddler was found wandering the streets alone on the city's West Side Wednesday morning.

Police said the boy, only wearing a diaper, was found walking in the 300 block of South Cicero Avenue, right on the cusp of South Austin and West Garfield Park. CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot spoke with the security guard who found the child and called the police. 

15th district officers responded to the call for help, from the good Samaritan, who went door to door, trying to find the child's parents.

Surveillance video shows Gerald Foster outside the gas station where he works at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Foster says he was doing security and having a conversation with a couple of men. He turned around and saw a child, he thought to be one or two years old. The child had been walking alone on a sidewalk along Cicero Avenue.

"I just knew I was seeing something. I knew I wasn't seeing what I thought I was seeing."

Reflecting on the moment more than 12 hours after it happened, tearfully, Foster says he thought about the fact he almost died 21 years ago when he was stabbed five times. He says God saved his life for this moment.

"There was a reason why I was there. So, he kept me here," Foster said.

The 43-year-old father of two says the moment the child came to him, wearing only a diaper, really touched him.

"It could have been my kid," he said while holding back tears. 


Foster brought the child into the gas station. He put a shirt on him, gave him juice and chips, and waited for the police to arrive.

"He was just fine once he got to me. started gone back to sleep and everything," he said. "Just took care of him like he was mine."

Paramedics took the child from Foster and put the toddler into an ambulance. A woman, identifying herself as the child's mother, appeared frantic on surveillance video. She jumps out of this minivan and then enters the gas station. She arrived here about two hours and 45 minutes after the security guard found the boy.

"She's just been so thankful, and I keep telling her, you don't have to thank me, it's just, I had to take care of him."

Foster says the child's mother told him, she had left the little boy in someone else's care when she went out. The child was taken to a hospital to be checked out. DCFS would not comment on where the child is right now, only saying, they're investigating. 

Police said the child does not appear to have any injuries. 


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