“Has anyone seen a missing Postman Pat?”, said the concerned voice over the shop public address system.
“We’ve got a very distressed toddler here.”
William had popped into Go Outdoors with his Grandma and Grandpa, but what should have been a quick shopping trip suddenly descended into one of the biggest dramas of the two-year-old’s life.
The first I heard of it was a text message from my mum while at work.
“Don’t rush home, we’re part way down Preston New Road and realised we’ve left Postman Pat behind. We’re turning back.”
Despite my protests that a missing plastic figure didn’t warrant a U-turn at rush hour, off they went back to the shop where William had been playing hide-and-seek with his favourite Postman Pat toy.
If you’ve ever been to Go Outdoors, you’ll know it’s not like a small corner shop you can scout around in a matter of seconds, it’s warehouse-sized – with aisle after aisle of camping equipment... so trying to track down a four-inch figure was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
They checked around the tents, under the camping tables, in between the sleeping bags, even down the camping stove aisle – which they hadn’t even walked down in the first place.
With William’s distress clear for the shop to see, even the store’s assistants joined in the hunt for Pat.
“What about this? Would he like it instead?,” said the kind-looking employee as she pulled a blue and red car off a shelf.
It was no Postman Pat, so William wasn’t interested – probably a good job, as there was more than likely another family on their way back to the shop looking for a lost car too.
Defeated, and starting to get desperate, I got another message: “Pat has gone AWOL. We’re off to Deepdale to try and buy another one.”
That is dedication that can only come from loving grandparents, whose grandson has got them wrapped around his little finger.
Which is why I’m still trying to find the right moment to let them know I found a second, identical Postman Pat at home the other day.
One I’d forgotten about. And one which could’ve saved them a road trip around Lancashire’s finest shopping centres. Oops!