Toddler Discovered Locked In Back of Hertz Car Returned to Airport Lot

A family who rented a car from Hertz returned more than just the vehicle when they dropped it off at the Daytona Beach International Airport this week.

According to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office, employees “discovered a toddler who was left in the back seat” of a locked vehicle in the return lot on Monday night. The girl, who was just shy of two years old, had reportedly been left there for around 45 minutes. Per police, the temperature outside in the unshaded lot at the time was around 80 degrees.

When police arrived on scene, the employee who called the cops was “carrying the child, whose face was warm and streaked with dried tears, but was breathing normally.” Per authorities, she was “scared and hot” but deemed “in good health” after being checked by paramedics.

While police and Hertz staff were unable to contact the driver, the girl’s mother actually called them — and said she had “just learned her father had left her daughter in the rental car — not at his home, as he’d told her.” The mother arrived on the scene shortly after.

“He said that he had my daughter at the house, and he left my daughter in the rental car,” the mother said in the frantic call, per Fox35Orlando. “I’m going to meet them at the airport. I’m going as fast as I can!”

Authorities said that after conducting interviews and looking at security footage, they established the child’s 62-year-old grandfather left the girl in the rental when he returned it after babysitting her all day. Her usual daycare was closed Monday for the holiday. According to The Daytona Beach News Journal, the girl’s mother actually picked up her father at the airport, after he dropped off the car — and he said the child was back home with his roommate. But when they got there, the girl wasn’t there.

The grandfather was reportedly “remorseful and cooperative with deputies,” but charged with one count of child neglect and transported to the local jail. The Department of Children and Families was also notified of the incident.

“We’re grateful for the actions of our Hertz teammates and glad the child is safe,” said Hertz in a statement, while police plan to issue citizens awards to the company’s employees.

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