A grandfather in southwestern China picked up the wrong boy at his grandson's kindergarten and even took the child for an injection before his blunder was pointed out, according to reports.
The elderly man was seen on security camera footage guiding the boy - his grandson's classmate - from their classroom and out of the gate on Friday in Guiyang in Guizhou province, Hangzhou.com.cn reported.
The incident left kindergarten staff in a panic after the mother of the collected child, identified only by his first name Hongyu, arrived at the preschool but failed to locate her 6-year-old.
Chinese children start school at the age of 6 or 7.
Parents and teachers circulated posts on messaging app WeChat, sharing the security camera footage and appealing for help to track down the boy.
It took four hours before a parent in a WeChat group identified the elderly man as his father and realised that he must have taken the wrong child home.
The man was not familiar with his own grandson because he had just moved to the city from the outskirts, Jxnews.com reported, adding that he is also partially deaf.
Hongyu's name is very similar to that of his real grandchild, who is called Hongrui.
They also share similar facial features, according to the report.
The kindergarten's headmistress told a Guizhou television station that none of the staff noticed anything unusual when the elderly man picked up Hongyu, because the boy had called him "grandfather".
In China, it is not unusual for children to refer to elderly men as "grandpa" as a form of respect.
The parents of Hongyu were alarmed to learn that the grandfather had taken him to hospital for a cold injection.
Hongyu said in an interview with a Guizhou television station that he had been given an injection on his hip.
"The grandpa said I was having a cold," said Hongyu.
The incident was greeted with concern among WeChat users.
"Thank god it was just a false alarm. But it is too scary, if that is a stranger with bad intentions," read one comment.
"This is so weird. But this incident is difficult for the school to notice anything wrong as well, so the school has to be alert," said another.
The headmistress said that the school was liable and was willing to offer compensation, while the grandfather indicated that, in light of the injection, he was willing to arrange a full medical check-up for Hongyu.