Monday, July 28, 2008

Where WERE the parents??

Twice in the past five days I have had cause to wonder where the parents of a child were. Granted we can't be with them 24/7 when they become older and more mobile, however when they are under the age of 3 I'm pretty sure we should be, or at least be certain they are in the care of a responsible individual.

On Friday I was in Edmonton visiting a friend. We went to Northgate Mall so she could select some eyeglasses. While we were in the parking lot, just finished parking and she was finishing a smoke (I'm almost at a year quit yay me) the rear driver's door on the SUV next to us opened up and slammed into her car. I looked out my window, as it occurred on my side of the car, ready to give a piece of my mind to the perpetrator. My mind was quickly changed when I saw that the person responsible was less than two feet tall and probably JUST two if that. I was stunned. There was no parent in sight. The child was running through the parking lot, barely avoiding being hit by cars. I ran over and took his hand. I asked him where his Mommy was, he didn't know, obviously. I took him back to the SUV and told him I'd wait with him until his Mommy came back. Shortly afterwards an East Indian woman came running through the parking lot yelling, "I'm right here, I'm right here...I was only gone a couple of minutes".

I looked at her flabbergasted as we'd been there for well over ten as the events had unfolded. Another bystander was on the phone to the police as I was talking to the Mom. She kept saying she was only gone for a few minutes. We told her that he was left unattended in a stifling hot vehicle, in the middle of a parking lot. It was well into the high 20's that day, and the SUV was black, how hot do you think it was in there?

She got very indignant and said that he wouldn't go into the store with her so what was she supposed to do. She tossed him into the back seat and then hopped into the driver's seat and pulled away. She did NOT buckle that child into a car seat, nor into a seat belt.

I was left there to mutter, " well in my world I would have picked the lil shit up and CARRIED HIM IN; you are the Mom, you are in charge. " Now I realize in the mid-east the women obey the men, but do they really start obeying them at birth??? Do the male children seriously dictate their mother's actions? I was totally sickened by her lack of care or regard.

What if some sick creep had found that child wandering? What if he would have gotten killed? I can only shake my head ... and these would be the first parents crying injustice if something awful were to occur.

Today, I was driving down my street, THANK GOD I was going under the speed limit and paying attention. As I rounded a ninety degree corner I spotted two very young children on the sidewalk. The youngest, appearing to be not yet two, got away from the little girl with him. She couldn't have been more than 7, if that. He darted out into the street. I slammed on my brakes and had I not swerved into the oncoming lane as I braked I would have hit him. The young girl had darted out after him, screaming. Another older girl was on the opposite side of the street,she appeared to be at least 13 and was obviously with the two young children. It appeared that the little guy was trying to get to where she was.

I sat in stunned silence for a full minute, thanking God that I hadn't struck either one of those children. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the older of the two girls walking toward my truck, mouthing "I'm sorry"...and she had left the little guy UNATTENDED AGAIN. I told her it was ok and to watch the young lad.

I drove away and shook my head. The little girl who originally had the little guy had her hands full of papers and could not hold his hand. She couldn't stop him from darting out, and really why at that young of an age was she saddled with that responsibility? I can only imagine the horrendous guilt she would have felt if he had been hit. Truly the older girl should have been looking after the little guy. And again, WHERE WERE THE PARENTS??? No one came out when these children screamed in fright. No one came to their aid, no one came to make sure they were ok.

I would have felt so sickened had I hit that child. I don't know that I would have ever drove again. I am so glad I didn't.

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