A 24-year-old mother in Lincoln, Nebraska called 911 when her son was missing from her apartment. Across the street at a bowling alley, employees called police to report a toddler inside the coin-operated machine.
A representative from the vending machine company unlocked the machine and freed the boy, who was then reunited with his mother.
Employees think the boy climbed into the machine through the toy hatch slot.
Police did not cite the mother since she reported him missing so quickly, and the boy showed no signs of neglect.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.