If you haven’t thrown yourself in a ball pit before spending your parent’s hard earned cash attempting to bag yourself a cuddly toy on a claw machine, then you’ve never lived.
Despite our play centre childhoods being a distant memory the dream is still alive and well. In fact, one tot was so desperate to get his hands on a prize he clambered inside the claw machine, where he inevitably became stuck.
Natalie Draper had taken three-year-old Noah and his twin brother Joey to a play centre in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
The 37-year-old left Noah with a friend of his while she took his brother to the loo, only to return to be asked ‘is that your son in the machine?’
When Natalie turned around, she discovered Noah had climbed completely inside the machine in a bid to get his hands on a soft toy.
It took 10 minutes, three broken padlocks and an out of order sign to get Noah out of the machine and reunited with his mother, who could let out a big sigh of relief and finally see the funny side of the situation.
I had taken my sons out to an indoor play centre to keep them entertained for the morning, but I never expected this to happen.
I had taken his brother, Joel, to the toilet and left Noah playing with his friend for a matter of minutes.
But when I came back, a lady grabbed me and asked if ‘that was my child in there’ – to which I replied ‘in where?’
As soon as she said ‘the machine’ I rushed over to take a look and could see Noah had climbed into the crane and got himself stuck!
Thankfully the team got him out within ten minutes, and now that I know he is safe and unharmed, I can’t stop laughing at what happened.
Despite the later-found hilarity, Natalie describes the experience as the ‘most terrifying 10 minutes’ of her life.
As the machine was operated by a third-party company, the indoor play centre didn’t have keys to unlock it.
So they had to break off three padlocks using a screwdriver and then twist the lock using a knife to be able to break the door open and get him out.
But he came out completely unscathed, thankfully, and an ‘out of order’ sign was placed on the machine.
Now it’s all over and we’re home I can’t stop laughing at what happened.
All he wanted was a teddy bear – if he’d asked me for the money I would have got one for him, he didn’t need to go to such extreme lengths!
You’ve got to seriously admire his commitment to getting what he wanted. Fair play, Noah.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.