Mum drives off without daughter, 9
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
'BREATHE, relax and fight back the tears,' are the words of advice Lismore mum Tracey Prindable gives her two daughters when they feel like they want to cry.
But, it was nine-year-old Shannon Prindable who whispered the phrase to her mother on the phone after being left behind at a Gold Coast petrol station on Monday night.
Tracey had driven all the way back to Lismore from Tugun Shell service station before her six-yearold Chloe Prindable, who had been asleep in the front of the car, realised her sister Shannon was not in the back.
"I got to the Mobil (in Lismore) to get milk and Chloe said 'where's Shannon?'" Tracey said.
"Then I just dropped down onto my knees and started screaming and crying."
Shannon had been asleep in the back of the car when her mother pulled into Tugun and checked on her.
However, while Tracey was paying for fuel, Shannon got out of the car to go to the toilet.
Her mum drove off and was unable to see that the seat behind her was empty because she had covered the rear windows with towels earlier in the day to keep the car cool.
When Shannon realised she had been left on her own, she calmly told the service station attendant who gave her a seat and a hot chocolate.
"I wasn't too scared or worried," Shannon said.
"I knew not to walk around the streets because it's dangerous and someone could have hurt me."
An off-duty police officer, who had stopped at the petrol station, took Shannon to Coolangatta Police Station.
When Tracey called police they immediately put Shannon on the phone.
"She told me to breathe, relax and don't cry," said Tracey.
"It was very heart-warming."
Shannon arrived home with a police officer at 6am yesterday.