A watchful straphanger, a veteran transit officer and his trusty canine came to the rescue Monday of a missing 11-year-old boy who apparently was wandering the subways for days after disappearing from his Brooklyn home.
Kareem Granton, 11, of East New York, was reunited with his mother in Brooklyn after five days missing. An unidentified straphanger spotted the boy on the No. 4 train around 8 a.m. and immediately talked to Officer Dennis Grimm, of the transit canine unit, when she got off at Union Square.
"I was just at the right place at the right time," Grimm, a 36-year-old Commack resident, said.
Grimm, who has been with New York's Finest since 2002 and the canine unit for the last seven years, immediately walked into the train with Dakota, his dog, before the subway pulled away and spotted the boy. The officer said Kareem was very cooperative, especially since he took a liking to the 10-year-old German Shepherd.
"My canine is very social. I think it helped his nerves," said Grimm, who has a 7-year-old son of his own.
After bringing Kareem into the Union Square NYPD station and giving him some McDonald's breakfast, Grimm said the boy gave him his mother's phone number. Grimm said aside from being hungry, Kareem didn't appear to have any physical problems.
"He was calm. He looked tired," he said.
Tony Herbert, a community activist who assisted Kareem's family since the he disappeared Wednesday, said the family was obviously elated that he was safe and sound, especially since the entire incident started with an argument over his chores.
Herbert said the boy had a tantrum with his mother after school last Wednesday because he didn't want to clean up after his dog so he met up with a friend in his building to hang out.
The two friends eventually decided to go to a Chuck E' Cheese at the Barclays mall and somehow the two got separated and Kareem got lost on the subway, Herbert said.
"He took the train in the wrong direction and then got totally lost," Herbert said.
Kareem, who doesn't have a cellphone, had $10 on him which he spent on food; the emergency money apparently ran out Monday.
"He apologized to his mom as we all were standing there," Herbert said of the reunion at an undisclosed location in Brooklyn. "He's a good kid, just 11 years old and just wired up."
The hero straphanger, who Grimm said looked like she was on her way to work, hasn't been identified and didn't stay on the scene as the officer got the child off the train.
Herbert said the family wants her to come forward so they can meet her in person. "We're on hunt for her. We'd really like to thank her," he said.