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Steve Nash gym kid zone criticized after 2-year-old girl wanders out

06/10/2015 07:27 EDT | Updated 06/10/2016 05:59 EDT
A B.C. family is upset their two-year-old daughter wandered out of the supervised child-minding facility at the Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club while her dad was working out. 

Now the Hendrick family is demanding action from the Surrey gym and wants to know how their little girl Maddie could have walked out of the locked doors on her own and without anyone noticing. 

Matt Hendrick dropped off Maddie at the kid zone on Monday at 6:45 p.m. PT, signed her in and left her with the attendant and a few other children.

When he checked in 45 minutes later, Maddie was happily playing. Ordinarily, Hendrick says he would have continued to work out until 8 p.m. when the kid zone closes for the night.

But for some inexplicable reason, he decided to go back 15 minutes later.

"When I looked around the room, I only saw the attendant but Maddie was nowhere to be found," he says.

He says he asked the attendant where his daughter was, and she told him someone had already taken her. Hendrick immediately feared the worst and thought his two-year-old had been kidnapped. 

"I honestly believed somebody walked into the room, posed as my wife and signed her out and took her because I could not fathom that a two-year-old could somehow escape from this room," he says.

Frantic, Hendrick says he searched the room and the gym. But when he didn't immediately find her, he ran out of the front door. 

That's when he saw Maddie about 20 metres away, being walked back to the gym by a woman across the street, who had realized something was amiss.

"I just grabbed her and hugged her," he said.

Fifteen minutes had passed since Hendrick first realized his daughter was missing. 

Steve Nash club reviewing safety protocols

The club says it takes this breach seriously and is reviewing its child-minding protocols with all of its staff. 

The safety and well-being of children that attend our clubs is of utmost importance to us," says Steve Nash Fitness Clubs president Todd Ingledew and COO Chris Smith in a Facebook post. 

"Unfortunately our safety and security protocols that are in place to ensure child safety and security were not followed."

The club says its engineering team is reviewing the physical entry and exit systems at the Kid Zones and the company is also reviewing its security protocols.

Hendrick says he was so upset at the time that he took his daughter home immediately.

"I didn't even deal with them at the time. I felt completely helpless and devastated."

Back in her parents' arms, safe and sound, Maddie seems fine, happily playing in the living room with her toys.

But her parents get emotional as they play through horrible, worst-case scenarios of what could have happened to their little girl. 

"I don't understand how a little one could get through two heavy locked doors without anyone from the gym noticing what had taken place," says Maddie's mother Christina Hendrick, her voice cracking. 

"Thank God [the woman] found her and brought her back."

'What the hell happened?'

Hendrick says he's been told the attendant will likely be fired, but he still wants to know, "What the hell happened?"

"We just need to know that person is not working in child care or with kids anymore."

He's also upset that when he followed up with the club, there was no internal report of his daughter walking out of the gym. 

Steve Nash Clubs have shown Hendrick and his wife surveillance footage of Maddie walking out the gym. He says the footage shows her leaving when another parent came to pick up her son, but no one noticed. 

​Hendrick wishes he had paid more attention to the gym's policies. 

"What I would have done differently is tried to familiarize myself what some of their procedures were, because I think parents, in addition to management can help keep them [the staff] accountable."

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