Area newspaper deliverer finds wandering child on paper route

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Working the early morning shift delivering newspapers, R.D. Smith isn't used to seeing a lot of people out and about on his route. He found himself not alone on Sunday when he discovered a two-year-old girl wandering around the streets all by herself.

Before the sun rises, Smith is already starting his day delivering the Kansas City Star.

He usually works from 1 to 5 a.m. seven days a week. There’s often not a soul around at those hours, but it was different on Sunday.

“When I approached the stop sign and hit my bright lights, I discovered it was a little girl about two, two and a half years old, dragging a pink and white blanket,” Smith said.

He spotted a little girl walking by herself at four in the morning. He said she must have just woken up because she was still warm.

“I asked her what she was doing out here. She stood by my vehicle and she walked over to my vehicle. I talked her to come on and she got in,” he said.

He called police and handed the little girl over to officers. Smith said his fatherly instincts kicked in when he saw the little girl. He wanted to do everything he could to protect her because he lost his own son two years ago.

“September 19, 2013 at 8:15 in the morning. He was a good kid,” Smith recalled.

His son, Noah, died of an asthma attack at just 10 years old. Thankfully, Smith was able to help the little girl before any harm came to her. Police were able to return her to her family. Smith said it was fate that he found the toddler.

“I shouldn’t have been there because I started my route backwards,” he said.

He said he was meant to be there, to make sure she was safe.

The carrier is no rookie to what happened this weekend. Smith has worked that same paper route for 11 years. He said this is the second time he’s found a wandering child.