FORGETFUL RON HOWARD LEAVES HIS KID BEHIND -- AT A DONUT SHOP

Published on: December 6, 2001

Opie felt more like dopey when director Ron Howard pulled a "Home Alone"-like move -- leaving his son at a donut shop on his way to a Thanksgiving vacation in the mountains.

The child star-turned-director got the shock of his life when he arrived at Yosemite National Park in California and got a cell phone call from Fresno police -- telling him he'd left his 14-year-old son Reed 90 miles behind at a Krispy Kreme shop!

"Ron stopped off with his family for a dozen donuts and came up one short -- one kid short, that is!" a source at the donut shop declared.

"It was like the movie 'Home Alone' where the kid gets left behind in all the confusion of a holiday getaway. Reed came out of the rest room and found his whole family was gone.

"Ron, his family and some friends were traveling in a caravan of three limousines from L.A. Everyone assumed Reed had gotten back into one of the other cars. No one realized he'd been left behind.

"Reed was clearly shocked to find himself abandoned. But he remained calm as he told Krispy Kreme manager Duane Frazier that his dad always had his cell phone on. And he kept saying his family would probably be back any minute. He never dreamed it would take three hours!

"While Fresno police headquarters tried to contact Ron, two officers waited with Reed.

"It took police an hour and a half to reach Ron because phone reception in the mountains was erratic. Ron and family made the trek all the way to Yosemite before they were advised that they were one Howard short!

"When Ron and other family members returned, there was a lot of hugging and warm laughter.

"As he embraced his son, Ron joked, 'All this for a dozen donuts?' "

Howard, who directed blockbuster hits like "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Parenthood," has been married to wife Cheryl since 1975. Reed is the youngest of the couple's four children.

A spokesman for Ron's Imagine Entertainment film company said both father and son were unfazed by the donut shop adventure.

"Ron has a sense of humor," said Imagine president Michael Rosenberg.

"The whole thing was a family matter and it had a happy ending."