A "highly enterprising" four-year-old boy was reunited with his parents unscathed after grabbing his mother's keys and taking her car for an early-morning drive through the streets of Utrecht in the Netherlands, police have said.
The boy, in pyjamas and bare feet, was spotted wandering on a street in the city's Overvecht district early on Saturday morning by bystanders who called emergency services, the North Utrecht police force said on its Instagram account.
After receiving a medical check-up and a cuddly bear from an ambulance crew, the toddler - with no immediate sign of any parents in the vicinity - was taken to the nearest police station and given a mug of hot chocolate, the post said.
Soon afterwards, a police patrol reported that a car had been abandoned in the same neighbourhood, apparently after first hitting two parked vehicles. A call to the registered owner of the car revealed it to be the boy’s mother.
“She explained that her son was ‘highly enterprising’,” police said. “She spoke to the child on the phone, and we saw him imitate a collision and make a steering movement with his hands. This made us suspect he might have been driving.”
Officers accompanied the mother and her son to the abandoned car, where they were joined by the boy’s father. “At the car, we asked the child if he could show us how it worked,” Utrecht police recounted in their Instagram post.
“He opened the car, and put the key in the ignition. He started the car, moved his left foot to the clutch, and hit the accelerator.” They concluded that he had been “woken up early when his father left to go to work, and decided to go for a drive”.
Fortunately, police said in their post - titled "New Max Verstappen discovered in Overvecht", in a reference to the 2021 Belgian-Dutch Formula One world champion - "this mini boy-racer's adventure ended with a fizzle".