Friday, July 25, 2008

What would you have done?

I took little man to the mall tonight to play at the park. We left the house at about 7:45pm. Which was bad enough in itself considering the mall we went to was at least 20 minutes away. But I love the little guy so I went ahead and took him and spent some time with him...indoors...where it was at least 80 or so instead of 95.

Anyway, at one point I was helping Logan be good and play with the other kids (read: stopping him from pushing the little girls down the slide) and saw a dad put his little girl over the rail and into the play area. Of course he could have walked her to the entrance...but that is the least of my worries.

She was all of 4 or 5, maybe. As he lifted her over the rail he cautioned her to stay in the play area and not go out or else someone might take her and she needed to be safe. I thought that was odd, but was busy keeping an eye on Logan, so eventually got distracted enough to forget about it. Probably 20 minutes later or so the girl went up to another one of the mom's, crying her eyes out, because she couldn't find her daddy and her daddy was missing. I leaned over and told her that he had left her there by herself after realizing she was alone.

At that point I thought about calling the police, figuring they could maybe scare the parents into not doing it again, but realized that there was a very real possibility they would have to take the daughter away and I wasn't ready to make that call when it could have been a dad just making a stupid mistake. So I consolled the girl and kept an eye on her, watching to see if I could find a security guard to do the scaring for me. It was probably 10 minutes before the mom returned with an arm full of shopping bags. When I finally got to the security guard and pointed out the family, thinking maybe he could at least say something, he said he had already had a discussion with him earlier in the day for doing the same thing and he had a bad attitude, but since they had picked up their daughter and the mall closed in 7 minutes, there really wasn't a point in saying anything more.

So, what would you do in that situation? Hindsight being what it is, I wish I would have called the cops right away and let them handle it...how could a parent do that over and over again, leaving their child with people they don't know at all and hoping their child won't walk away looking for them or that another adult will realize that the child is alone and take them away. I just can't understand that. I believe we all make mistakes and I know I am not a perfect parent, but still...I just can't imagine doing that. Next time, maybe I would take the girl away to the security desk, "looking for her parents", and then let the police handle it that way with the parents panicking when the return to look for her and she's not there...then they would learn while she's in safe hands? ...I don't know what would be right in that situation...then, would you say something when the parents return? What about if you saw the parents dropping the kid off and leaving...would you say something then?

Just curious...

6 comments:

The Moshells said...

As a former CPS employee and now mom my opinion is to teach parents a lesson. Yes, it may cause embarrassment, anger, harsh words and tears for their little one...but it will hopefully teach them this is NOT ok, EVER! It would hopefully prevent something very tragic happening to their child. It's really hard not to be furious with people this ignorant when there are missing children reports ALL over the place...and such horrific stories. I saw it happen last week at McDonalds...a little boy was running around the restaurant and kept telling the employees his dad dropped him off. Sorry for the lengthy response, that's my two cents worth...now I have to go stand by the ac vent...I'm steaming! :) j/k

The Mommy said...

Marie,

One time when I lived in CH. I saw the nanny of someone I knew let her 4 year old charge out of the car at the park to play. She stayed in the car and read(which had a bathroom in front of it which blocked her view of the play area) This was not quite as bad as your situation but anything could have happened that the nanny didn't see. I told the mother just because I would want someone to tell me if something like that happened with my kids. After all, she was paying the nanny to watch the kid, right? In your situation I probably would have taken the crying girl to security and let them handle it. I have learned after parenting 3 kids to trust my instincts about people because they are usually correct! I know it would have been sad if they took the girl away but if the parents are leaving her like that at the mall she might be neglected at home where others can't see. Suppose the parents are great, maybe a bit naive and just think the world is still a really safe place. Either way it maybe would have been a wake-up call to them!

The Mills Gang said...

I think I would have taken the child to security too. This is terrible and it amazes me that there are parents out there who do this. I may not have done anything in the past but now having a child of my own...well, I just feel differently about so many things. This is so sad and makes me furious at the parents. It's really border-line abuse in my opinion!!!

Mandi said...

I don't think I would've ever confronted the parents, but I agree that calling the police may have been the best idea in hindsight. Because who knows where else they leave the little one while they do their 'errands'...

amelia said...

i can't believe the dad did it a second time!

i think i would have gotten security and/or said something to the parents...maybe something like, "wow, you sure are brave for dropping off your daughter all alone in the mall play area. i could never do that. i mean, there are all kinds of terrible things that could happen, but i'm sure you know that already. just out of curiousity, why do you feel like it is safe to leave your 4 year old alone?" okay, so maybe i wouldn't really say THAT--i think i would be way to ticked off to say anything non-accusatory.

hindsight is always 20-20. maybe next time you go you'll see the same guy since he apparently has a habit of doing that and you can call the cops on him.

Monkey Momma said...

I'd definitely call the police. And I'd do it without any regret or second guessing. That baby needs to be taken care of and if they can't do it, let CPS find someone who will! There are millions of couples that are dying to have children and these folks treat their little gift like a dog that can be left alone once it's papertrained. If they've done it more than once, and reading about the situation (shopping at the mall?!), then what's to stop them from leaving them at home alone, where there is NOBODY to supervise them, let alone some strangers? Can you imagine what could happen?

Let me take the kid! I'm steaming too! Grrr!

No, I'm not opinionated about this topic at all. LOL!