Authorities say a female subway rider spotted a boy in the Union Square station who looked like Kareem Granton, who was last seen Wednesday afternoon in his East New York apartment building.
The boy was on a southbound No. 4 train, and the woman recognized him as the train doors opened after the train pulled into the station. The rider told a transit worker, who notified a police officer with a K-9 who was on the platform. The officer grabbed the boy off the subway train before the doors closed.
The boy told detectives he has been riding the subway by himself. He was reunited with his mother, 26-year-old Precious Granton, on Monday afternoon.
"It was a very big world. I didn't think I would probably make it. It was kind of hard getting food. I'm kind of happy I'm home," he said.
Police say the boy appeared tired and hungry, so the officer took him to McDonald's. He was apparently riding the subway alone for several days, telling the officer he was just riding the train. He said he initially left his apartment building to go to the mall at the Barclays Center, but got lost and ended up in the subway.
Officers then took him to a Children's Services Center in Brooklyn, where he was re-united with his mother.
"I was happy. I wanted to be jumping like a won a million dollars. My son was back," she said. "They said my son said his name was Kareem. He knows his name. That was him."
On Wednesday, Granton got home from school and then left hang out with a friend who lives upstairs.
That friend, Eric Steward, tells Eyewitness News that they played video games, and that Kareem left to go home around 3 p.m. He then disappeared for the last five days.
"It's just really hurtful," Precious Granton said. "Like I would never think I would be the one on the news talking about how I want my son back. I feel bad for the people who do lose their kids, and now I'm the one."
Kareem's building didn't have any security cameras, but his family was hoping cameras across the street could provide some answers. Now it looks as if they caught a break without them.
Precious says her son was kind and helpful.
"If he saw a pregnant person, he'd help them," she said. "Or a little kid, he'd help them. Or an old person, he'd help them with their bags."
Kareem admits he took off after he had a tantrum, mad that he had to pick up after his pet dog Queenie.
"I knew my mom was looking for me, but I didn't know it would turn into this big of a situation," he said.