Money is short in a friends family. He is a single parent father of a boy, 9 and girl 5. He has a full time job and although if he were to take a second job things would be easier on the pocket, he would see little of the children.
So, a big treat was to drive nearly 2 hours to the zoo. Lunches and drinks were packed in their back packs and off they went.
The had their lunch and Dad gave them some money to go buy themselves and ice cream. He remained sitting outside watching the people go by.
Several minutes had past and no children. He waited a few minutes more and went into the busy shop. His children were not there. A few minutes frantic searching in the area did nothing more than increase his blood pressure. Finally he found one of the keepers and told what had happened.
Immediately the gates were closed and all cars checked on leaving. Announcements were made so not only keepers but the public were looking for the missing pair.
After searching the police were called and were fast to arrive. Descriptions were being taken when, from a wooded area, the two appeared non the worse for wear.
Their father would probably killed them if the strong arm of the law hadn't been present. They were berated, made to apologise to all around and sent back to the car whilst their father further apologised.
The children were quiet all the way home and on getting there were sent to have a bath before going straight to bed with no tea.
Whilst they were together in the bath father relented about the no tea and made them some boiled eggs. The pair were taking their time so he went to investigate. As he went up the stairs he could hear splashing and mutterings. On opening the door there was a lot of scrabbling to hide something but, to late! The pair were sharing their bath with a penguin.
Turns out that when they had seen the penguins earlier there was one bird all on his own and the children thought he had no friends. They decided to take him home and had escaped parental vision (and forgone ices) to rescue Lonely, as they had named the bird.
Having caught him when no one was looking, they took him off to the woods and put him in a backpack.
Father called the zoo to say what had happened and again to apologise. He offered to return the bird there and then but was told to leave it in the bathroom overnight. It had been fed so would be fine.
Next day they had to drive back to return Lonely to his rightful owners ! Luckily the zoo thought it highly amusing and ingenious that two young children could bird nap on a very busy day without anyone seeing them. Free tickets were issued for the family for the full season.