Toddler Loses Driving Privileges After Riding Toy Tractor To Fair

RUSH CITY, MN — County fairs are a treasured tradition in rural America, a delight for both young and old. A Minnesota toddler who had been watching the carnival rides going up at the Chisago County fairgrounds about a block from his home in Rush City wanted to see for himself what all the hubbub was about, so the 2½-year-old took matters into his own hands.

He slipped away from his parents on the evening of Thursday, July 18, the opening night of the Chisago County Fair, hopped on his battery powered John Deere tractor and off he went to take in the sights. He drove his toy tractor down the sidewalk, through a back gate and joined the throng of people at the fairgrounds to watch motocross races.

Frantic when they couldn’t find him, his parents called a missing child report into the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office around 6:51 p.m.

When the toddler was found a few minutes later, he was standing next to the Tilt-a-Whirl, his favorite carnival ride, news station WTHR reported.

State Rep. Brian Johnson, a Castle Rock Republican who had been a sheriff’s deputy in Isanti County before his election in 2012, found it strange that such a young child was standing alone at the carnival ride. So he hailed a Chisago County deputy, who reunited the tractor-driving toddler and his father.

Dad wasn’t too happy his son had taken off on a lark by himself, and suspended his son’s driving privileges by removing the battery from his toy tractor, news station KARE reported.

Anna Mendiola commented on a sheriff’s office Facebook post about the incident that the tractor-driving toddler’s future is probably as brilliant as he was to have pulled off the stunt.

“His ability at that age to make connections necessary to conceive of an idea and then actually be able to create a plan and put it into motion, and remain determined the entire time without asking for help?” she wrote. “My gosh. He can be and do anything in the world he chooses.”

It turns out the kid isn’t the only youngster ever to slip away from his parents and go off on his own.

Cees Vendrig admitted in a comment on a post that he “legitimately was this kid in 1984.” He pedaled his toy tractor to his cousin’s elementary school and “checked every window until I found him.”

Amanda Piker said her son did something similar when he was 3. He rode his bicycle to the elementary school looking for his sister.

And Bob Pineo told this story on his 2-year-old self: “We lived next door to a church. … I got out while mom was drawing my bath. I walked down the aisle of the church completely nekked. Good times.”

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