Authorities catch runaway child with oversized baggage
By Max Hirsch, Sunday, Mar 04, 2007, Page 2
An eight-year-old boy from Taoyuan ditched his mother and hit the road lugging a suitcase twice his size stuffed with clothes and cookies on Thursday after apparently having been nagged to breaking point, a Taoyuan police officer said yesterday.
Fed up with his mother's nitpicking, the child, surnamed Shih (施), decided he had had enough and stuffed some bare essentials for a life on the road into an adult-sized suitcase: a change of clothes, cookies, a few boxes of juice and a remote-controlled toy truck, said Chu Cheng-long (朱政隆), Cingsi (青溪) Police Station chief in Taoyuan City.
"The suitcase was bigger than he was -- he could've fit inside it," Chu said by telephone yesterday.
Little Shih hit his snapping point after school three days ago, when his mother called home from work and gave him a tongue-lashing for not doing his homework, Chu said.
"Those two had some words, after which the boy decided to take matters into his own hands," Chu added.
The boy, who was home alone, rounded up his indispensables and schlepped them to his elementary school, where he had planned to make his new home, Chu said.
"The suitcase had wheels, so he was able to push it all the way to school," the police chief said.
But that's where reality caught up with the second-grader, unraveling what he had thought was a foolproof plan to sleep on the floor of his classroom.
The plan's fatal flaw -- locked doors -- left Shih scrambling to cook up a Plan B.
But, at 5pm, two officers on patrol spotted the vagabond near the school pacing beside his comically oversized luggage, at his wit's end, and the getaway came to an abrupt end, Chu said.
The boy went quietly, he added, saying police officers extracted his confession over a lunchbox and milk, after which they phoned his mother and teachers.
"The mother came right over [to the police station to pick the boy up]. She told us he's really headstrong," Chu said.