Tampa, Florida -- A 4-year-old wandered alone into a Tampa Walmart Monday, and now that little boy's mother is behind bars, charged with child neglect.
It happened at the Walmart store at 2701 Fletcher Avenue in Tampa.
While most of us can't imagine letting our kids out of our sight for a minute in this day and age, deputies say 35-year-old Kimberly Simmons did it for more than a half an hour when she left her kids in the car to do some grocery shopping.
During that time her 4-year-old got out, wandered through the busy parking lot and somehow made it inside to tell workers he was looking for his mommy.
"I don't know what she was thinking about or what," said Simmons' older sister, Patricia, who was stunned by her younger sibling's apparent lack of judgment. "Everybody makes mistakes, but that was a real big mistake that she did there."
Hillsborough County deputies say just before 6 p.m., Simmons brought two of her sons -- Desean, 4 and Drae, 2 -- to the Walmart store on Fletcher Avenue and left them alone in the car for more than a half an hour while she went grocery shopping.
But when Kimberly came back to her vehicle, 4-year-old Desean, was gone.
"They were scared, because they didn't leave with their mom," said Patricia.
Fortunately, rather than wandering off, Desean had the good sense to go into the store looking for his mother.
Walmart workers found him and kept him safe.
But deputies say it took almost a half hour beyond that for Simmons to go back into the store and ask for help, and when deputies arrived, they charged the 35-year-old with neglect.
"She's a wonderful mom," said Deion, the oldest of Simmons' six sons.
He says he was saddened to hear what happened, and worried about his mother sitting in a jail cell. She's a good, responsible parent, he says.
Simmons has worked as a diet clerk for the past 17 years at Brandon Regional Hospital to provide for her family.
"We've all got a roof over our head. We've got electricity, we eat. We take baths. We do all that," said Deion. "I don't want them to think she's a bad person or something, you know? It's just a mistake. It was stupid."
Simmons was being held on $7,750 bond. She also had an outstanding warrant, say deputies, for driving without a valid license.
The children are all OK, and are being cared for by relatives.