In light of the media buzz surrounding the young California runaway, who stowed away in the wheel well Hawaiian Airlines airplane—and miraculously…

In light of the media buzz surrounding the young California runaway, who stowed away in the wheel well Hawaiian Airlines airplane—and miraculously survived the flight—many are wondering what would compel a young person to do something so drastic. While we cannot speculate as to the specifics of this young man’s story, we can tell you that his reasons for leaving home are not unique.

It is being reported that the young man fled from his family home after an argument. While each young person copes with leaving home in a different way, family dynamics are the most common motivating factor for leaving home. Our callers cite situations such as parents’ divorcing, conflict with a new stepparent, addiction of parents or guardians, incarceration of parents or guardians, being neglected at home, etc., as reasons they no longer feel like home is a place in which they can stay.

When young people decide to leave home, they often panic, realizing that they have not come up with a plan for how they will sustain themselves outside of their parent or guardian’s home. In fact, most of our callers call our 1-800-RUNAWAY hotline after 1-3 days on the streets. For many young people, this is the time period in which reality sets in and they realize that they need assistance. When they call NRS, our frontline staff and volunteers are able to walk them through their situation, help them come up with a plan, and connect them to the resources that they need to stay safe.

Whatever the reason for a youth leaving home, and whatever the actions he or she takes   before or after doing so, they can rely on NRS to provide nonjudgmental, nondirective, nondenominational, anonymous, and confidential help 24/7/365.