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Ikea gave 4-year-old girl to wrong parents

The Local/dl · 20 Jun 2011, 07:46

Published: 20 Jun 2011 07:46 GMT+02:00

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"I don't understand how something like this can happen," the girl's mother, Lena Norman, told TV4 news.

Lena, her husband Rickard, and their 4-year-old daughter Wilma had taken a trip to the popular discount furniture retailer for a day of shopping.

Upon arriving at the Ikea, the Norman's checked Wilma into the store's Småland play area, a common practice among Swedish families hoping to make their shopping trip run a bit more efficiently.

"We got a stamp with a number on our wrist, and Wilma got the same number stamped on her hand," Lena told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

After making their way through the store, Lena and Rickard returned to the play area to pick up Wilma only to discover in horror that she wasn't there.

"We couldn't see her anywhere. We thought she was in the toilet, and several went to look. The staff showed me check in sheet and Wilma's name has been crossed off, like the note looks when they've checked out a child," mother Lena told TV4.

Panic-stricken, the parents widened their search beyond the Småland play area and began looking for Wilma elsewhere in the massive store.

Finally, they found Wilma standing pacing in the store's entryway, just outside the play area. Her lower lip quivering, she was clutching a drawing she had made for her parents during her time in the play area.

When she finally saw her parents, she burst into tears.

"We broke down too," Lena told Aftonbladet.

Reunited with their daughter and overjoyed, Wilma's parents attempted to learn from their daughter what happened.

"She's told us that someone said to her, 'Come Wilma, your mom and dad are here', but no one was there to pick her up," said Lena.

The parents now believe that Wilma was checked out to another family by mistake who then didn't realise that the 4-year-old had been released to them, leaving Wilma alone outside the play area.

Story continues below…

"Just think if she had wandered off, if she hadn't been standing there waiting. No one knows either how long she was waiting there," Lena told TV4.

The store's duty manager, Veronica Eriksson told TV4 that the incident is under investigation.

"This can't happen. Something went wrong in the release of the child and we're now looking into exactly what happened," she said.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

07:59 June 20, 2011 by wenddiver
Don't worry IKEEA guaratees that either group of parents will be able to assemble the child properly.
08:10 June 20, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
That must have been a traumatic event for that poor little girl.

09:06 June 20, 2011 by Already in use
So this means nobody checks that the kid is picked up by somebody (anybody??) with a matching number?
09:10 June 20, 2011 by Pont-y-garreg
Didn't the other family realise they had an extra child?

What a catalogue of stupidity.
09:28 June 20, 2011 by byke
The idea of leaving your children to the responsibility of unknown strangers in an ikea has always left me wondering. Even from a child's persective, how bored must a child be to want to be entertained and looked after by strangers in a room that is usually boring and dull to say the least ..... While there are a few coloured balls and the odd low grade paper and pens ..... It's hardly a place a child desires to go.

And the same goes for many adults in their stores .... It's one thing to look, but it doesn't mean I want to take that stuff home with me.
10:21 June 20, 2011 by RobinHood
Exactly the same thing happened to me. I checked in my 3 year old daughter, but IKEA gave me back a 7 year old boy. When I got home my wife realised immediately I had the wrong child. I had to go back and change him the next day. IKEA were very nice about it; they gave me a voucher for 100 SEK.
11:59 June 20, 2011 by Strongbow
Step 1. Don't name every girl "Wilma".

Seriously. Call out "Wilma" and half of the children will respond. I wish it was a joke.
13:47 June 20, 2011 by RitaPita
@ Strongbow

That's a good point. For all we know, it was just a misunderstanding and the girl walked off without being noticed.

Funny how absolutely everything gets labeled as "news" these days. I got lost in a department store when I was young too.... it didn't make The Gazette!
14:45 June 20, 2011 by Swedesmith
That's why we named our kids Moon Unit and Dwezel.
15:22 June 20, 2011 by RationalG.
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:25 June 20, 2011 by Kevin Harris
I lost my child in a zoo a couple of years ago. I found him by the elephants. Would the Local like a story on that too?
21:30 June 20, 2011 by spg
Who is worse. The tw@ of a reporter who thought this was news or the tw@ of an editor who let this story in!! See ye local. Going to go to a site that actually reports news!!!
18:09 June 21, 2011 by Soft Boiled
The child wasnt really missing... you need to check the instructions again
22:58 June 21, 2011 by helveeta
I saw this story all over the newspapers at Maxi the other day and first thought, why would the wrong parents accept the child they knew it wasn't theirs? Now I read the whole story and it just sounds really fishy. Also leaving your child, especially if you have only one and they are younger than 5, in the dirty small "play" area at Ikea seems really unsafe to me.
15:58 July 5, 2011 by jacquelinee
@Śwedesmith.... Since Frank Zappa is dead, you must be his wife if your kids are named "Moon Unit" and "Dwezel"
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