MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A two-year-old Rush City boy gave his parents quite a scare last Thursday night.

“He’s very independent. A very independent and strong-minded kid,” said dad Kris Allen.

Kenneth Allen’s T-shirt says it all: “Born to Explore.” And Kenneth does a lot of exploring on his electric John Deere tractor. While his parents set up for a garage sale last Thursday, Kenneth decided to do some off-roading.

“He’s never wandered off the yard. Neighbor stopped by and said that’s the first time we’ve seen him wander,” Kris said.

When Kris and Lynn didn’t hear the electric tractor anymore and couldn’t find their son anywhere in the yard, they feared the worst.

“My husband immediately grabbed my phone and called 911 and got in his car and took off. I immediately ran in panic because I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do,” said mom Lynn Allen. “It doesn’t go very fast. I can probably walk faster than it goes. Apparently that day it was cruising.”

Cruising at a steady two miles an hour, Kenneth was heading for the bright lights of the county fair several blocks away. When he arrived, fairgoers knew something was wrong and a nearby Chisago County sergeant began to investigate.

Just as the sergeant was kneeling down to ask Kenneth his name and how he got to the fair, a 911 call about a missing boy came across his radio. Call it record-time police work that reconnected Kenneth with his parents.

“Worst five minutes of my life,” Kris said. “It was an emotional roller coaster and instant relief. OK, he’s there, he’s got them, he’s safe.”

On Saturday, Kenneth returned to the fair, this time with his family. Instead of a joy ride, he got to go on kids’ rides – the kind where it’s impossible to take off on your own.

“We just learned we are going to put a tracking device on the tractor so we can find him,” Lynn said.

John Lauritsen

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