In this day and age another story of an Amber Alert involving a car theft and children in the back seat has become too common. I have to believe that in almost all cases the car thief doesn’t realize children are in the back seat when the temptation of an easy car theft occurs.
Valentines Day our small and busy family voted for pizza out at a well known place in Silvernail Shopping Center. That day they had heart shaped pizzas and give away heart shaped balloons with the order.
As we pulled into the parking lot five-spaces deep, I parked next to a car with keys in the ignition, the car running, and shockingly two children in car seats in the back. No adult was near the car.
I couldn’t leave until someone came back partially out of fear and part anger but my wait was short. A young mother opened the drivers door and hopped in before I could say a word. Shock number two; before we got out of our car she got out of her car and locked the door left the engine running with children in the back seat and dashed inside the pizza restaurant.
Now I’m just plain angry.
I lead my family to the counter dividing attention between the running car and the mother paying for her carry out order. Determined to do something, I told my family to order for me and then stood at the entrance waiting for the mother to leave.
I wish I didn’t have to do this. It was going to be awkward. I didn’t want to make a scene but the welfare of two innocent children was at stake over a mere inconvenience for their mother.
I met her at the door and quietly said, “That was the stupidest thing you have ever done leaving your keys in the ignition and your car running with your two children in their car seats.”
Obviously embarrassed she responded, “I locked the doors.”
“In five seconds I could have smashed your window, stolen your car and kidnapped your children.” I replied.
Her facial expression went to pure sorrow and I knew I reached her. “Thank you,” she said.
I knew by her response that she truly loved her children and realized what a horrible mistake it was to put them in harms way perhaps unintentionally, but with a false sense of security.
I was at a loss for words for a moment and then let her pass saying that my concern was only for the safety of her and her children.
I rejoined my family for dinner still a little in shock that I had to step up and say something rather than risk a future community tragedy.
Was I out of line and should I have minded my own business? You can be the judge of me on that. However, if I see another situation similar to this, I’m going to do the exact same thing.
Parents – protect your children!