ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles resident is searching for the owner of a Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital scrub top adorned with newborn baby footprints.
David Malecek found the neatly-folded, adult-sized scrub on a bench in St. Mary's Park in St. Charles on Dec. 28, and after posting it on Facebook chat groups, reaching out to the St. Charles Police and the hospital, no one has come forward to claim it.
Malecek said that his immediate reaction after seeing it was that he was "shocked" that something so personal had been left on a park bench.
"It was neatly folded and it looked like someone put it there for a reason," he said. "My thought was 'why would someone do that, did they lose a child?' But I don't know the reason someone would leave that at a park."
A spokeswoman for Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital said that the hospital gives the new mother's support person the scrub with the newborn's footprints in ink on it as a special keepsake from the baby's birth.
Malecek took the gown home, and posted a photo of it on Facebook, but no one has claimed it. He went to the police, who said they would eventually discard it if no one came forward. Malecek said a nurse at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital told him that there was no way to find out the scrub's owner.
"They said they'd never heard of anyone leaving a gown in a public place before, and didn't know of anyone who'd lost it," Malecek said of the hospital staff. "No one has called and asked about it."
Malecek said that if no one reaches out to claim it soon, he may return it to the bench in a plastic bag.
"Maybe the person wanted it on that bench. I was a little sad when I found it. I felt like this child's life is precious, and I wanted to protect the memory of that baby," he said. "I would think that it's something special to someone."