Its 9:30 pm. I’m walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot. I hear a child crying. From inside a minivan. A toddler pounding on a partially opened window crying, “Mommy! Mommy!” and something else I couldn’t understand. I stop. I stare. I walk on. I stop. I turn around. I stare and get closer to the front to see better. I see the child but no one else in the van. Get make and model description, look around for the “security” car that “patrols” the parking lot. Nothing.

Inside the store I find a manager and describe the situation. She calls her manager who contacts the security car. I point out the van. We all walk outside. Now, the interior light is on, the windshield wipers are going and I see another kid inside. I start thinking, uh oh, I’ve sounded the alarm and there’s no problem. Turns out, there was someone older in the van. The managers came away smiling and we all moved on. Its killing me that I don’t get to know the details. Was it an adult with them? Was it just kids? If there was an adult, do the children belong to them or is something worse going on? Trust me, my kids have said & done some pretty wacko things in public–moms, you know the looks the rest of us give you. And you also know there’s more to the story than what is seen.

So now I feel like an idiot. The vans back windows were tinted and I didn’t get close enough to put my face in the windows. When I came upon it, there was no one in the front seat, it was dark, and I didn’t see anyone else moving around.

I wonder, would you leave your kids alone at 9:30 pm in a Wal-Mart parking lot? Or any parking lot? There are days I wish(as do they)that mine could stay in the truck instead of go in the store. Of course mine are under 6 and I don’t have much choice.

I’m a champion pendulum rider and sway between apathy and busy body. Today apparently was busybody day. Typically I would look, assume everything is fine and move on. I just had that gut feeling tonight that said to report it. So when do you snoop and when do you talk yourself off a ledge that you’re blowing things out of proportion? What would you do?


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by amberglass on May 8, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I don’t think you were overeacting. If that little girl had been a kidnap victum or even simply locked in the car alone it was in her very best interest that you intervened. Yes, this time it looks like she was OK. But wouldn’t it be awful if you had seen her picture on the news as being reported lost or worse, and you had walked on by? To many people do that. so, well done!


  2. You did the right thing Joni. I agree with Amberglass.


  3. I’m very proud to be your husband!


  4. Posted by Beth on May 9, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    You absolutely did the right thing! I had to call the police on a van with 3 kids in a Sam’s Club parking lot. I was parked right next to it and just stayed in my van until the cops showed up. Thank goodness for cell phones!!


  5. I’m not a mother yet, and I hope that when I am i’m more of the laid-back kind that doesn’t get worked up over the small stuff, but the world we live in is rediculous. It’s just better to make the extra effort when it comes to your children’s safety. I think you did the right thing too and honestly, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? I think as long as we have a respectful, tactful approach that isn’t aggressive or assuming, then speaking up can prevent more unimaginable crimes or consequences.


  6. Posted by queen0fcups on May 14, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    you do what you feel is best a the moment wit hte available information you have at the monent… what more can you do? If it is a case of mistaken situation all the better!


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