As a child, one of the great wonders of life is witnessed the first time you press your face up to that thick plastic, eyes agog as a great claw appears from the sky to descend upon a mountain of toy delight and delicately pluck its chosen prize, to carry it triumphantly aloft and deliver it to eagerly waiting hands. And we all totally wished we could be inside that big plastic box filled with toys.
Alas, inside a transparent treasure chest is no place for a child. But that didn’t stop a three-year-old Nebraska boy who went missing Monday night from wandering across the street from his home and crawling into the bowling alley’s claw machine. He then settled down to do what else? He played his little heart out, reports KLN-TV.
His mother called 9-1-1 when she realized he was gone and he was soon found in the machine, which he would’ve had to enter through the prize delivery hole without anyone seeing him.
“You have to weave your way in and out so he had to work pretty hard to get in there,” the machine’s owner explained. “I had heard about this happening in other parts of the country, it’s kind of a rarity.”
And it sounds like he was pretty happy in there while the fun lasted.
“I really don’t think he noticed any of us outside the machine because he was just picking up stuffed animals and putting them down where they come out of,” says the bowling alley’s bartender.
There’s another way to get out of the machine, luckily, as the owner supplied the key to the machine and the boy was rescued. He’s uninjured and his mother isn’t in any trouble for letting him get in there in the first place, as cops say she reacted quickly in reporting him missing.
Even better? The kid didn’t leave that wonderland empty-handed, because that would be totally cruel. He went home with a new plush toy, a story that none of his friends will ever be able to rival at any party in his adult life, and the envy of millions of American kids for years to come.