The Story of the Cab Baby: ‘Juno’ It Ain't

Cab Baby

Photo: Newsday.com

Before the events of this weekend, the cab-baby story had enough feel-good components going for it to overshadow the underlying depressing fact that a father had abandoned his helpless baby in the back of a livery cab. You had the hero cab driver, Klever Sailema, a good Samaritan who secured the girl’s safety by driving her to the local Fire Department. You had the flood of calls from people willing to adopt the baby girl, “Lourdes,” as she was christened. (Take note, orphans: If you want to get adopted, get yourself on the news. It’s gold.) And you had photos of the cute little girl in the pink bows, who we all hoped would be reclaimed by a loving family and grow up happy and occasionally do interviews with Diane Sawyer about her ordeal. That can still happen, but on Saturday, the sad truth brought the normally cynical, hard-hearted city back to harsh reality.

Turns out Sailema and his girlfriend had colluded with the baby’s desperate father, Carlos Rodas, to unburden himself of the baby. Rodas, who is the brother of Sailema’s girlfriend, had become overwhelmed after the baby’s 14-year-old mother walked out and left him to care for their child. It was probably in the interest of avoiding scrutiny of the mother’s age that legal, responsible channels weren’t used. Now Sailema and his girlfriend, who is in the U.S. illegally and fears deportation, have been charged with falsely reporting a crime and criminal facilitation, the police are searching for the father, and the baby might end up back in the arms of the mother who abandoned her in the first place. And for us? Well, it serves us right for going against our natural impulse and believing in something. It’s back to guarded leeriness, we suppose. —Dan Amira

Livery Driver Who Took Baby To Firehouse is Charged [NYT]
2 Charged in Baby Abandonment Released [Newsday]
Earlier: How Are We Going to Cover This Cab-Baby Story?