A lost Auckland boy unexpectedly showed up marching in Sunday's Santa parade as a member of Peter Pan's Lost Boys.
Mum Tina had earlier taken son Luke, 8, to the parade's marshalling area before losing him in the Aotea Centre, and spending two frantic hours searching for him.
She had no idea where he had gotten to until a friend texted a photo of him happily marching in the parade with the Lost Boys float.
Waves of relief immediately washed over Tina after her two hours of worry.
"I'm happy, very happy, like I got the Lotto win," she said.
Tina said she could see the funny side now and described the whole affair as an accident.
However, she had earlier been a nervous wreck.
She said Luke was originally meant to take part in the parade as part of Auckland Transport's Walking School Bus group - a float designed to bring a mix of kids from different schools together.
However, when she arrived at the Walking School Bus's meeting point, Tina said she was instead redirected to the Aotea Centre.
Tina doesn't speak English as a first language and said staff seemed to think Luke needed to change for the parade and so should go into the Aotea Centre where most of the children wearing costumes were assembling.
Tina on the other hand had to wait outside the centre.
But she soon became worried when Luke didn't come back outside and those organising the Walking School Bus float phoned to say he hadn't shown up at the meeting point.
Tina tried to go into the Aotea Centre but wasn't permitted to do so.
Growing ever concerned, she went to a policeman for help. She gave the officer a photo of her son from earlier that day, showing him wearing a red T-shirt and red backpack.
But unbeknown to her, Luke was already making new friends inside the Aotea Centre and now wearing a fancy dress costume rather than his red shirt.
Santa parade organiser Pam Glaser said one of the marshalls in the centre's costume room saw Luke holding a sign saying "lost boy".
"And unfortunately that was one of our costume names that we have given to groups of kids who had been choreographed to wear a Lost Boys costume in the Santa parade," she said.
Luke "was then taken as a Lost Boy performing in the parade" with volunteer staff knowing no different.
Luke didn't say he was lost, nor did he show he was he in distress, Glaser said.
In fact, far from it. Luke had a marvellous time strolling along and waving to the crowd.
Not only was it ironic he joined the Lost Boys group, but he was also marching just a stone's throw from Auckland Transport's group, which was just two floats behind him.
Tina said she spent the parade next to the policeman, who told her not to leave his side.
It was not until about 10-15 minutes after the parade finished that she knew Luke was safe when her friend texted to say she had seen him.
Shortly after that one of the parade staff called to say they had Luke with them.
Tina rushed to the spot to find a happy, smiling Luke.
And not only did Luke enjoy himself, but he might now also end up with a new toy as a result of his excursion.
"Maybe he should have a smartphone or smart watch so I can talk to him," Tina said.
Glaser said she was happy Luke was reunited with his mum and wasn't left distressed.
She said parade organisers and their team of volunteers went to great lengths to ensure good practices were in place to take care of everyone.
All children taking part in the floats run by the parade organisers earlier went through a small dress rehearsal so they and their parents knew what to do on the day of the event, Glaser said.
Children taking part in the Auckland Transport float were also given detailed instructions about what to do and where to go on the day.